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Food label news: Highlights of 2018 and upcoming schedules

While not as numerous as the year before (in 2017), there were still several and various announcements and changes that happened regarding food labeling this past year (in 2018). If you engage in food labeling activities, you must probably be busy in dealing with the new standards (note: that came into force in 2015 and will be mandatory by April 2020). So hopefully this summary will help you plan future business practices.

Last Year's Highlights

We picked the major events (amendments to the regulations, etc.) that happened last year among ones concerning food labeling, and summarized them as follows.

2018 March A report of the discussions on the labeling system for genetically modified food was published (change of conditions for “non-GM” labeling)
The “Guidelines on notification of foods with function claims” were amended (“available carbohydrates, sugars” and “plant extract & secretion materials” were added)
May “The guidelines for nutrition labeling based on the food labeling standard, 2nd edition” was published
June "The points to be kept in mind regarding the labeling methods and content of fine prints" were announced
A “Law to amend parts of the Food Sanitation Act” was published
August "About license of labeling for food for special dietary use" was partly amended ("liquid infant formula" was added)
September “The food labeling standard” was amended*
“About the food labeling standard” the 13th amendment*
“The food labeling standard Q&A” the 5th amendment*
December A “law to amend  parts of the Food Labeling Act” was published

* The food labeling standard, a comparative table of the prior and amended ones (September 21, 2018), (September 1, 2018)
* “About the food labeling standard”: comparative table of the prior and amended ones
* “The food labeling standard Q&A”: comparative table of the prior and amended ones

Upcoming schedules

Upcoming schedules are as follows.
The main points to be dealt with in the future are the transition periods to new systems, so hopefully this short summary will help you to review and consider a plan for your future business moves.

2020End of March The transition period for the “food labeling standard" (processed foods, additives) (manufacturing plant identification marks) will end
2022 End of March The transition period for the new “Country of Origin Labeling system” for ingredients in processed foods will end

I reckon that there will be lots of new changes happening this year, but we will take time to focus on each of them carefully in order to generally perform at our best and deliver high level services.

February 2018