All food products processed in Japan will most likely be required to have declaration of origin for major ingredients in the near future. The declaration shall be “国産 (domestic)” for the Japanese ingredient, or “COUNTRY” for the imported ingredient. At present, only 25 processed foods must have origin declared for major ingredients.
Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) with a collaboration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) presented a plan to amend Food labeling regulation 食品表示基準 to the Food Labeling Committee in October 5, 2016. Discussion on the labelling of origin has been under discussion in the Committee since January, 2016.
Consumer groups are concerned about more risks in processed foods using imported materials after the establishment of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Consumer groups have been putting pressure on the government to make the labeling regulation more stringent. Agricultural groups are concerned by the increase of imported agricultural materials after the TPP establishment, which has also led to demands to additionally strengthen the requirements.
The CAA expects the publication of the new guideline (regulations) over the course of 2017. The enactment should take place following two to three years of transitional period.
The country of origin for the imported processed foods must be declared even now.