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Regarding organic JAS system

Organic JAS system based on the JAS Act (Act on Japanese Agricultural Standards) allows the organic JAS logo to be used only by the registered business operators that have been certified by the accredited certification bodies to verify that organic foods are produced in compliance with the standard for “organic JAS”.

Organic JAS

This system sets the standard of sustainable production methods so as to reduce the load on the environment from agricultural and livestock industries as much as possible with conforming to the Codex (the organization which set international food standards) guideline like many other countries.

  • For organic plant products,
    -Soil fertility maintained by compost, etc.,
    -Cultivated basically with no chemical synthetic fertilizers nor pesticides used.
  • For organic livestock products,
    -Feeding the livestock with organic plant products, etc.,
    -Limiting the use of excessive veterinary drugs,
    -Raising livestock with considering animal welfare
    -Prohibiting the use of Recombinant DNA technologies in the production of these products.

According to the JAS Act, organic plant products and processed products of plant origin as "organic" have been designated as "Specified Agricultural and Forestry Products". Those products cannot be labelled as “organic”, etc. , if a product does not bear the organic JAS logo certified by the accredited certification bodies. On the other hand, organic livestock products and organic processed products of animal origin ingredients were not designated as “Specified Agricultural and Forestry Products”, therefore they were able to be labelled as “organic” even though they did not have the organic JAS logo on the products. However, from July 16, 2020, organic livestock products and organic processed products of animal origin ingredients also cannot be displayed as "organic" unless they are certified by the accredited certification bodies to bear the organic JAS logo.

Previously, it was possible to label foods such as “organic eggs,” “organic milk,” “organic ham,” or “organic milk chocolate” without the organic JAS logo. However, it is required to attach the JAS logo on those products for sale likewise organic plant products and processed products of plant origin as "organic".

There is the agreement established between countries that the systems of other countries for organic certification are recognized as the same as that of the home country as the mutual recognition of the organic certification system. Currently the following countries have approved and participated in the mutual organic certification system.

Organic plant products and processed products of plant origin as "organic", and Organic livestock products and organic processed products of animal origin ingredients: USA, Canada, Switzerland, Australia Organic plant products and processed products of plant origin as "organic" Argentina, New Zealand, EU, Taiwan*

*Between Taiwan and Japan, both the Japanese and Taiwanese authorities have recognized their each system as equivalent and one side country’s certified organic products shall be treated as the other side country’s certified organic products based on the private sector agreement between Public Interest Incorporated Foundation “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association” and “Taiwan-Japan Relations Association”.

Products that are produced in these countries and that have been certified as organic under the systems of these countries can be labeled as "Organic xxx" in Japan using organic equivalency recognition.
When importing from the other countries or regions, it is not allowed to label as "Organic xxx" in Japan unless the manufacturer has obtained Organic JAS certification.

Any products labelled as organic livestock products and organic processed products of animal origin ingredients after July 16, 2020 are subject to regulation.
The same applies to livestock products or their processed which were manufactured or processed foods before July 16, 2020.

For imported goods, it is applied when an importer "sells", "consigns sales", "displays products for sale", etc., after July 16, 2020.

Please refer to “the JAS's Q&A for organic plant products, organic processed foods, organic livestock products”, and organic feeds (Q34-1 to 34-15).

The organic JAS system for organic livestock products and organic processed products of animal origin ingredients has already begun. We hope that this article will give any of our readers who produce or handle the targeted foods a chance to check the organic JAS system and the organic JAS logo again.

References:
Regarding organic JAS system
The 2nd brochure Organic livestock products designated as Specified Agricultural and Forestry Products (Japanese)
The 2nd brochure Organic livestock products designated as Specified Agricultural and Forestry Products (English)
Organic livestock products and organic processed products of animal origin ingredients designated as Specified Agricultural and Forestry Products
Countries/regions that have a system equivalent to the JAS system (as of July 2020)
JAS Q&A on organic plant products, organic processed foods, organic livestock products and organic feeds

October 2020