Language:

'About the flexible operation of food labeling following the 2018 floods in Japan'

On July 13, 2018, the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) notified relevant organizations that the food labeling standard would be operated flexibly in the disaster affected areas subject to the Disaster Relief Act (under a joint statement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare).
Each notification is posted on the following website.

‘Notification about food labeling’ (CAA)

http://www.caa.go.jp/policies/policy/food_labeling/information/

Notifications announced from July 13 to 19, 2018

In response to the heavy rains of July 2018

  • Flexible operation/practical application of the food labeling standard based on the Food Labeling Act
  • Handling of liquid infant formula
  • How to practically label the manufacturing plants information
  • How to practically label the manufacturing plant identification marks

Summary of each notification (extract)

‘Regarding the flexible operation/practical application of the food labeling standard based on the Food Labeling Act’

“Provided that it is assessed that the information regarding food safety is transmitted with due consideration, and that the food is labeled in a way which does not mislead the consumers, in areas affected by heavy rains in July 2018 and subject to the Disaster Relief Act (*), regarding food to be conveyed or sold, for the time being inspections can be omitted even when all the mandatory labeling items based on the food labeling standard are not written on a label. (*10 prefectures, 60 cities, 37 towns and 4 villages)"

“However, when food (even if the container or package does not have a label that covers all items based on the food labeling standard) is conveyed or sold in these affected areas, the allergen statement and expiration date are still subject to inspection, as it has been done up to now and in accordance with the necessity of labeling these items on each container or package."

“As for the best before date, considering the current situation where it is written on a container or package of many processed foods for industrial use, it shall be written on each package wherever possible”

“Malicious violations of the standards that might mislead the consumers (regarding the nature of the products, etc.) shall not be excluded from inspection. Therefore, such malicious violations will be continuously inspected in cooperation with related organizations”

‘About the handling of liquid infant formula’

“Regarding liquid infant formula with a claim that it is appropriate to be used as a substitute for breast milk: Even if it is not approved nor permitted under the Foods for Special Dietary Use System, for the time being inspections do not have to be performed”

“However, as for the allergen statement and expiration date, since these labeling items are more important than anything to prevent disaster victims to contract food-related diseases, it is necessary to display them on each container and package and they remain subject to inspections as before”

“Considering food sanitation matters: opened and left-over drinks shall not be stored”

‘Regarding how to practically label the manufacturing plants information’

“For the time being, regarding food which was produced in factories (manufacturing plants) in disaster affected areas that are subject to the Disaster Relief Act because of the heavy rains in July 2018, and in case the production is consigned to another manufacturer or plant, it shall be allowed to label a manufacturing plant location and manufacturer name different from the actual location and name, by notifying the Food Labeling Planning Division of CAA by fax using the appended notification form”

“In case any inquiry is made by consumers regarding a manufacturing plant, the name and location of the actual manufacturing plant shall be informed”

*Here is the appended notification form

‘Regarding how to practically label the manufacturing plant identification marks’

“For the time being, a mark used for a factory (manufacturing plant) subject to the Disaster Relief Act because of the heavy rains in July 2018 might be exceptionally used for other factories (manufacturing plants), by notifying the Food Labeling Planning Division of CAA by fax using the appended notification form”

“Whether in the old or new system, when there is any inquiry about a manufacturing plant identification mark from consumers, the name and location of the actual manufacturing plant shall be informed”

*Here is the appended notification form

Also informative notifications at the attention of the persons in charge of evacuation shelters have been posted.

To all persons in charge of evacuation shelters

When providing food without labeling, please be very careful about the following things.

  • In case it is not obvious whether the food contains allergens, please do not give it to disaster victims with known allergic disease.
  • In case the Best before date is not clearly labeled, please do not store the food for a long time and consume it as soon as possible.
  • After opening the package, please do not store the leftover and consume it in accordance with proper usage, as soon as possible.
  • Regarding liquid infant formula, please properly provide necessary information. Also do not keep leftovers after opening a package.

Reference: About informative leaflets for flexible operation of food labeling (CAA)

We hope that normal life resumes as soon as possible for everyone in the areas affected by the disaster.

Reference:
‘Notification about food labeling’ (CAA)

September 2018