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About the target ingredients

One of our primary business operations is to submit “Food Labeling Review Report” to our clients after confirming their draft of food label based on the formulations and ingredients specifications from our clients who have already created their labels. For both those who create and confirm the documents in which “ingredients” and “additives” are listed in order of weight by comparing the formulation contents with the ingredients specifications is one of the most time-consuming tasks.
This is because additives and the other ingredients must be indicated in labels separately in Japan. Additives contained in “processed ingredients” used in product’s ingredients also must be figured out descending order of the weight separately by calculation.
The order of weight for additives on the label is listed in descending order of weight of the “target ingredients”. Although I personally couldn’t grasp the meaning of “target ingredient” at first, there is the explanation in “Food Labeling Standards” as below.

Food Labeling Standards Q&A P124(Process-91)
Regarding processed foods using additives preparations, in what order, the additives composing the formulation should be labeled?
(Answer)
Please display in descending order of the weight ratio of the target ingredients.

For example, this is a part of a formulation table for a western-style confectionery. Please see the example of “apple preserved in syrup'' which is a “compound ingredient”, before looking into the additive preparation.

Name of the used ingredient Combination ratio in component    
Primary Secondary Primary Secondary Combination ratio in component  
Apple preserved in syrup   10.00%      
  Apple   75.00% 7.500%  
  Sugar   20.00% 2.000%  
 

Citric acid

  3.00% 0.300% Acidulant
  Vitamin C   1.50% 0.150% Antioxidant
  Calcium lactate   0.50% 0.050% Manufacturing agent

I think this is easy to understand since “acidulant”, “antioxidant (V.C)” and “calcium lactate” are each used as an additive used to achieve its target of the use in order to produce the “apple preserved in syrup”.

Then, what about the additive preparation?

Name of the used ingredient Combination ratio in component    
Primary Secondary Primary Secondary Combination ratio in component  
Emulsifier preparation for cheese   10.00%      
  Lecithin   50.00% 5.000% Target ingredient
  Sodium polyphosphate   5.00% 0.500% Target ingredient
 

Tricalcium phosphate

  0.50% 0.050% Target ingredient
   
   

This is an “emulsifier preparation”. “Lecithin”, “sodium polyphosphate” and “Tricalcium phosphate” are the target ingredients as emulsifiers. Therefore, adding each their combination ratio in the product together, which are “5.0%”, “0.5%” and “0.05%”, so the emulsifier is calculated as “5.55%”.

Let’s also look at an example of additive preparation.

Name of the used ingredient Combination ratio in component    
Primary Secondary Primary Secondary Combination ratio in component  
Flavouring and colouring agent   10.00%      
  Flavouring components   1.50% 0.150% Target ingredient
  Gardenia yellow pigment   1.00% 0.100% Target ingredient
    10.00% 1.000% Auxiliary agent
   
   
   
   

In this example, it is written as “Flavouring and colouring agent”. “Target” is to add “flavour (flavouring agent)” and “colour (colouring agent)”. Therefore, the target ingredients are the “flavouring component” and “gardenia yellow pigment”.
When deciding the order of weight, it should be in descending order of weight of the “target ingredients”. Thus, calculation should not be done with “10%” which is the primary combination ratio of “flavouring and colouring agents”, but with their combination ratios “0.15%” and “0.1%” respectively.

If you decide on the order of additives weight by “apple preserved in syrup”, “emulsifier preparation for cheese” and “flavouring and colouring agents”, the column of additives should be as follows:

Additives: Emulsifier (5.55%), Acidulant (0.3%), Antioxidant (V.C) (0.15%), Flavouring (0.15%), Gardenia yellow pigment (0.1%), Calcium lactate (0.05%)

There may be cases where a combination ratio is shared since a part of additives in the “ingredient specifications” is “Confidential”. So, it might be a good idea to ask your supplier ‘please tell us at least the combination ratio of the “target ingredients” as we need it for our calculations according to the Food Labeling Standard”’.
We hope that this column will be a good help for you in creating your labels.

November 2019