Author Archives: ラベルバンク編集部

Labeling for available carbohydrates and sugars


Available carbohydrates and sugars were added as a part of the widening of target functional ingredients/substances on March 28th. In regards to this, we will review the labeling system for available carbohydrates and sugars in Japan.

Nutritional labeling

The available carbohydrates value to be labeled is calculated using the following formula.
(*When the total mass of the food is set to be 100)

Available carbohydrates = 100*- (protein + fat + dietary fiber + ash content + moisture content)

Sugars are defined in the food labeling standard as follows:

Sugars: must be either monosaccharides or disaccharides, not sugar alcohol

In the nutrition facts labeling, indented sugars are written 1 character down the available carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates g
 Available carbohydrates g
  Sugars g
 Dietary fiber g

Carbohydrates, available carbohydrates, sugars and dietary fiber units are all in “g” and the smallest unit is a “one unit digit.” Regarding carbohydrates, available carbohydrates and sugars, if the value is less than one but more than the amount that allow to be labeled as “0”, one or more significant digits will be required.

Also, when importing/exporting, it is necessary to pay attention to the difference in the definition of “carbohydrates” among countries.

Japan Carbohydrates = 100 – (protein + fat + ash content + moisture content)
* Carbohydrates include dietary fiber
EU Carbohydrates = 100 – (protein + fat + ash content + moisture content + dietary fiber)
* Carbohydrates do not include dietary fiber
America Carbohydrates = 100 – (protein + fat + ash content + moisture content)
* Carbohydrates include dietary fiber


We have summarized the claim system regarding available carbohydrates and sugars. (Dietary fiber are not included)

Labeling system Standard for available carbohydrates and sugars Examples of labeling
Indication that it is “high”, “present/contained” or “fortified” There is no standard value for either available carbohydrates or sugars
Indication that it is “not present/contained”, “low” or “reduced” There is no standard value for available carbohydrates
(However, when the result of the calculation is a negative value, they can be labeled as “0”)
There are standard values for sugars
Example: Indication that it is not included must meet the requirement: “less than 0.5g per 100g”, etc.
Sugar-free, low sugar, 〇〇% less sugar, etc.
(Besides the standard value, there is also a standard regarding the percentage of reduction to use a claim indicating that the content has been reduced.)
Indication that it has not been added There is no labeling standard for available carbohydrates
There is a labeling standard for sugars
Example: No ingredients or additives should be used as sugar substitutes, and the total sugar content in the product shall not exceed the combined content of sugars in its ingredients and additives.
No use of sugars, etc.
Nutrient function labeling for food with nutrient function claims
(Standards and criteria type)
Both available carbohydrates and sugars are excluded
(No standards and criteria are set)
Allowance for labeling as food for specified health use
(Allowing on case-by-case basis type)
There were cases where available carbohydrates and sugars (labeling) were allowed on case-by-case basis
Example: Xylitol, L-arabinose
Sweeteners not responsible for tooth decay, one which inhibits the digestion/absorption of sugar, etc.
Function labeling for food with function claims
(Notification type)
Both available carbohydrates and sugars are target components*
Example: Xylitol, L-arabinose,etc.

(*Available carbohydrates and sugars, excluding the ones considered as major sources of nutrients/energy sources such as glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, starch and so on.)

There is no case as of April 24, 2018(Since it started on from March 28, 2018)

This is only a brief summary, but our general impression is (again) that the needs of the consumers and the number of food labeling systems are truly numerous. But for now, we will stop here. We will try to write a short column like this again from time to time.


The “Guidelines on notification of foods with function claims” were amended


The Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) partly amended the “guidelines on notification of foods with function claims” (hereinafter referred to as the “guidelines”) and “Q&A about foods with function claims.” on March 28, 2018.

There were several changes in this new version. However, “available carbohydrates, sugars (from March 28, 2018)” and “plant extract and secretion (after the notification database was improved) “ were added as a part of the widening of target functional ingredients/substances, and as this specific topic should attract more interests, we will feature it here.

Key amendments

The amendments are to deal with issues related to the operation of foods with function claims system, widening of target functional ingredients/substances and how to provide the information to consumers. We will try to summarize each issue and its related amendments separately as below.

(1) Notification documents
Issue: Required notification documents can be cumbersome
Amendment: Simplification of the documents required for the notification
– About 30% less items to fill in the notification documents

(2) Confirmation of the notification
Issue: Delay in the notification confirmation
Amendment: Speed up the notification confirmation (process)
– Notification of pre-confirmation by trade associations, etc.
– Notification ensuring that the target product is (mostly) similar to products that have already been publicly announced

(3) Fresh foods
Issue: The number of notified fresh foods remains very low
Amendment: Management based on the characteristics of fresh foods
– Addition of a labeling mention to state that the product provides part of the recommended daily intake
– Extension of the Q&A section concerning fresh foods

(4) Target ingredients/substance
Issue: Management of food products whose nutrients components and functional substances/ingredients are not specified
Amendment: Widening of the target functional substances/ingredients
– Clarification regarding the treatment of available carbohydrates and sugars
– Clarification regarding the treatment of plant extract and secretion

(5) Verification by a third party
Issue: Inability of third parties to analyze components/ingredients
Amendment: Disclosure of documents showing the analysis method (masking can be used if needed)

(6) Provision of information to consumers
Issue: Inability to check the current sales status of the products
Amendment: Notification of sales situation by food business operators after their FFC notification is complete

Improvement of the notification database and planned operation starting date

Some of the amendments this time require improvement of the notification database. Therefore, the timing to start its operation depends on the items to be amended. The differences in starting dates between before and after the improvement are listed as follows.

  Before improvement of the notification database
(Operate based on the amended guidelines)
Start the operation from March 28, 2018
After improvement of notification database
(Operate based on the attachment of the amended guidelines)
Operation starting date to be notified separately
Simplification of the documents required for the notification (Partial changes in the form) Reduce the number of items to be filled in the notification documents before the amendment by about 30%
Speed up the notification confirmation (process)
(Re-submit the notification)
(Trial operation) Start full-fledged operation
Speed up the notification confirmation (process)
Notification of pre-confirmation by trade associations, etc.
Start the operation
Notify fresh foods
(Labeling stating that the product provides a part of recommended daily consumption)
Start the operation
Notify available carbohydrates and sugars Start the operation
Notify plant extract and secretion   Start the operation
Disclose the analysis method Start the operation
Notify the sale situation   Start the operation

The timing to improve the database has not been announced yet. Thus, it is said that it may be at the end of this fiscal year (end of March, 2019).

Available carbohydrates, sugars

Among the contents for which operation has already started (from March 28, 2018), the addition of available carbohydrates and sugars should attracts people’s attention the most. We excerpted the relevant parts from the amended guidelines. (The underlined part is the added information)

Amended guidelines: “Basic guideline regarding functional ingredients/substances and related scientific evidence” (P3)

(1) Functional ingredients/substances (snip)
② The components listed in the 1st column of the 9th appended table of the food labeling standard are not targeted (including the nutrients whose consumption criteria are defined in the Health Promotion Act (snip)). However, regarding the constituents of the nutrients listed in the table below, and taking into consideration their different actions/functions (compared to said nutrients), they can be the target of the FFC system. Regarding the available carbohydrates and sugars, and excluding components (glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, lactose, maltose and starch) that are supposed to be the main nutrient source (energy source), are considered to be part of the target ingredients/substances.

Table Constituents of potential target ingredients/substances

Nutrients for which consumption criteria are defined in Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese Constituents as mentioned left which can be the target ingredients/substances (for example)
Protein Various amino acids, various peptides
n-6 fatty acid γ-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid
n-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
Available carbohydrates Xylitol, erythritol, fructo‐oligosaccharide, xylooligosaccharide, galactooligosaccharide, oligosaccharide of lactose (lactosucrose)
Sugars L-arabinose, palatinose, lactulose
Dietary fiber Indigestible dextrin, guar gum hydrolyzate
Vitamin A Provitamin A, carotenoid (β-carotene, α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, etc.)

As for Available carbohydrates and sugars, besides above mentioned changes, the “Precautions regarding consumption (P4, 40)”, “safety evaluation (P7)” and “analysis method (P22)” are also added to the guideline. Therefore, please check the amendment amended guidelines if you are interested.

Future schedule

At the time of writing (April 13, 2018), 1,338 food products have been approved as foods with function claims after notification. The number of foods with function claims will likely increase thanks to the simplification of notification documents and speeding up confirmation of notification, as well as after the improvements of the database to start to consider “plant extract and secretion” as system targets (scheduled around the end of this fiscal year). Also, since the disclosure of analysis methods has started, disclosed analysis methods are also required when making a notification of changes of already notified products, a move that will be likely help to improve transparency.

Since this was a big amendment, we hope this will be a good chance for you to review the system for foods with function claims.








  • 手順別(対象食品→強調の有無→表示方法→表示根拠)に規則を掲載
  • 成分別(別表第九※、その他)、分類別(加工、生鮮、添加物、一般、業務用)に規則を掲載
  • 含まれる旨や栄養機能食品の基準値など、「食品表示基準」の別表を掲載
  • 詰め合わせ食品や表示可能面積など、「食品表示基準Q&A」の内容を掲載
  • 最小表示の位や有効数字など、通知「食品表示基準について」の内容を掲載
  • ※食品表示基準別表第九に定められている36の成分と熱量




第1 表示しようとする食品はどのような食品か?

  1. 食品表示基準の対象
  2. 表示が必要な栄養成分
    1. 一般用加工食品
    2. 一般用生鮮食品
    3. 一般用の添加物
    4. 業務用加工食品、業務用生鮮食品、業務用の添加物

第2 栄養強調表示をするか?栄養機能食品として販売するか?

  1. 栄養強調表示

    1. 栄養成分の補給ができる旨及び栄養成分又は熱量の適切な摂取ができる旨
    2. 糖類を添加していない旨又はナトリウム塩を添加していない旨
    3. 栄養強調表示の規定における留意事項


    1. 栄養成分の補給ができる旨及び栄養成分又は熱量の適切な摂取ができる旨の表示値
    2. 糖類を添加していない旨又はナトリウム塩を添加していない旨の表示値


    1. 栄養成分の補給ができる旨及び栄養成分又は熱量の適切な摂取ができる旨の表現例
    2. 糖類を添加していない旨又はナトリウム塩を添加していない旨の表現例
    3. 栄養強調表示の表現における留意事項


    1. 原材料について栄養強調表示をする場合
    2. セットを構成する食品について個々のものに栄養強調表示をする場合


    1. 栄養強調表示の基準がない成分
    2. 業務用食品に栄養強調表示をする場合
  2. 栄養機能食品

第3 適切な方法で表示されているか?

  • 栄養成分表示の方法等

    1. 最小表示の位
    2. 最小表示の位に満たない場合であって、「0と表示することができる量」以上ある場合


    1. 栄養成分の量及び熱量の表示
    2. ナトリウムの量の表示
    3. 複数の食品が同じ容器包装に入っている場合の表示方法

第4 表示される値は適切か?

  1. 表示値の種類

    1. 一定の値による表示
    2. 下限値及び上限値による表示
    3. 上記ア及びイを併用する場合


    1. 許容差の範囲の規定
    2. 栄養強調表示の基準値と許容差の範囲


  2. 分析により表示値を求める場合

    1. 自然要因
    2. 人為的な要因
  3. 分析以外の方法により表示値を求める場合

    1. データベース等の値を用いる方法
    2. データベース等から得られた個々の原材料の値から計算して表示値を求める方法




第4 表示される値は適切か?

  1. 表示値の種類

    1. 許容差の範囲の規定

Discussions on the labeling system for genetically modified food 5~”Non-GM” labeling requirements and mentions showing that foods were treated under proper identity preserved handling~


Once more, we would like to feature the labeling system for genetically modified foods in our monthly publication. The 10th “discussion on the labeling system for genetically modified food” was held on March 14, 2018. Then the preliminary draft of the report on the discussion on the labeling system for genetically modified food as well as “examples of voluntary mentions for ingredients treated under proper identity preserved handling when it is actually performed” were discussed.

Therefore, we will summarize the changes on the “requirements allowing ‘non-GM’ labeling”, and provide specific examples of “labeling which shows that foods were treated under proper identity preserved handling.”

Outline of the current system and points to be changed

  • Alternative labeling expressions for “GM not segregated” will be discussed and examples will be shown in Q&A.
  • The requirements for non-GM labeling will be lowered from its current state (i.e. “unintentional GM presence of soybeans and corn equal or lower than 5%”) to “undetectable. When it is 5% or less, the voluntary labeling to show that foods were treated under proper identity preserved handling will be allowed.

Requirements to allow “non-GM” labeling

In the current system, if the requirement stated in the lower left column (that is 5% or less of unintentional GM presence (soybeans and corn)) applies , the voluntary labeling of “non-GM” is allowed.

On the other hand, in the new system, if the requirement stated in the lower right column (as for soybeans and corn, unintentional GM presence is “equal or less than α%”) applies , the voluntary labeling of “non-GM” will be allowed.

Reference: “Examples of voluntary labeling for ingredients that are actually treated under proper identity preserved handling” (Consumer Affairs Agency(CAA))

However, when the requirement stated in the right middle column applies (percentage of unintentional GM presence is “between 5% and α% (0%)”), it is now allowed to label it as “treated under identity preserved handling.”

That said and in both systems, when the percentage of unintentional GM presence is over 5%, it is considered that foods were not treated under identity preserved handling and it shall be labeled as “GM not segregated.”Even though there are actually few products with labeling like this, we can the notice in the Q&A to be released soon that it has been changed to an alternative labeling: “GM not segregated.

Examples of labeling to show foods are treated under proper identity preserved handling

Examples of voluntary labeling for ingredients that are actually treated under proper identity preserved handling are written, so we quote them as follows.

[Expected examples]
*Examples of labeling in case when the (unintentional GM) presence (of soybeans, corn) is 5% or less

(1) In case of voluntary labeling outside of the mandatory frame

  • “Using corn treated under identity preserved handling to prevent GM ingredient presence.”
  • “Using soybeans treated under identity preserved handling, but GM ingredients might remain.”
  • “To ensure that the unintentional presence of GM soybeans is as low as possible, ingredients are properly managed in each process of producing, distributing and processing.”
  • The purchase of ingredients and production process of this product are managed in a way to prevent the presence of GM soybeans as efficiently as possible.
  • By treating soybeans under identity preserved handling, the GM presence in this product is reduced as much as possible.

(2) When labeled collectively in the ingredients lists

  • Ingredients treated under identity preserved handling to prevent GM presence
  • Identity preserved handling to prevent GM presence
  • Managed to prevent GM presence

Future of the “non-GM” labeling

It is safe to say that the handling of non-GM labeling is the single most important change in the new system. Although the report is mainly about “maintaining the current system”, the present “non-GM” (but potentially “up to 5% unintentional presence”) labeling system could mislead consumers. Therefore, the condition will be changed to “undetectable (0%).”

In case it’s actually undetectable (0%), it will be allowed to be labeled as “non-GM”, yet concerns that there will only be very few products that might still be labeled as non-GM have been raised, and it is expected that many products labeling will be changed to “to show that identity preserved handling is properly done.”

Also since the system will likely be promoted, it is possible that inquiries related to the “identity preserved handling” system will increase. What this means for people in charge of products labeling, is that it will be important to read through the report on the discussion (preliminary draft) and once again review the GM labeling system/identity preserved handling before establishing a system that will help to deal properly with future inquiries from all quarters.











炭水化物 g
 糖質 g
  糖類 g
 食物繊維 g



日本 炭水化物=100-(たんぱく質+脂質+灰分+水分) ※炭水化物は食物繊維を含む
EU 炭水化物=100-(たんぱく質+脂質+灰分+水分+食物繊維) ※炭水化物は食物繊維を含まない
アメリカ 炭水化物=100-(たんぱく質+脂質+灰分+水分) ※炭水化物は食物繊維を含む



表示制度 糖質、糖類に関する基準 表示例
高い旨、含む旨、強化された旨 糖質、糖類ともに基準値なし
含まない旨、低い旨、低減された旨 糖質には基準値なし
例:含まない旨0.5g未満/100g 等
添加していない旨 糖質には表示基準なし


















届出資料の簡素化 (一部、様式の変更) 改正前より入力項目の約30%削減
(試験運用) 本格的に運用開始
糖質、糖類の届出 運用開始
植物エキス及び分泌物の届出   運用開始
分析方法の開示 運用開始
販売状況の届出   運用開始





② 健康増進法(中略) に摂取基準が策定されている栄養素を含め、食品表示基準別表第9の第1欄に掲げる成分は対象外とする。なお、下表の栄養素の構成成分等については、当該栄養素との作用の違い等に鑑み、対象成分となり得るものとする。糖質、糖類については、主として栄養源(エネルギー源)とされる成分(ぶどう糖、果糖、ガラクトース、しょ糖、乳糖、麦芽糖及びでんぷん等)を除いた糖質、糖類を対象成分となり得るものとする。

表 対象成分となり得る構成成分等

食事摂取基準に摂取基準が策定されている栄養素 対象成分となり得る左記の構成成分等(例)
たんぱく質 各種アミノ酸、各種ペプチド
n-6系脂肪酸 γ‐リノレン酸、アラキドン酸
n-3系脂肪酸 α‐リノレン酸、EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid)、DHA(docosahexaenoic acid)
糖質 キシリトール、エリスリトール、フラクトオリゴ糖、キシロオリゴ糖、ガラクトオリゴ糖、乳果オリゴ糖(ラクトスクロース)
糖類 L-アラビノース、パラチノース、ラクチュロース
食物繊維 難消化性デキストリン、グアーガム分解物
ビタミンA プロビタミンA、カロテノイド(β-カロテン、α-カロテン、β-クリプトキサンチン等)





Discussions on the labeling system for genetically modified food 4~Currently discussed major points of amendment and summary of the current system~


The 8th and 9th “discussions on the labeling system for genetically modified food” (Consumer Affairs Agency) were held respectively on January 31, 2018 and February 16, 2018. The preliminary draft of the “report on the discussion on the labeling system for genetically modified food (preliminary draft)” was studied during the 9th session.

While we assumed that there would be no important changes before the discussion, there actually was a modification of the standard for “non-GM” labeling. Thus, following last month’s newsletter content it will again be our main topic this time. Beside, we will also provide a quick summary of the outline of the current system.

Major points of amendment

According to the preliminary draft of the “report on the discussion on the labeling system for genetically modified food”, we summarized the current state of the discussions as follows:

1. Scope of the mandatory labeling
1. Discussions on food items subject to mandatory labeling
⇒ (Conclusion) Maintain the current system (8 crops 33 items)

2. Discussions on the scope of ingredients subject to mandatory labeling
⇒ (Conclusion) Maintain the current system (limit to main ingredients (the ones which are the three most predominant by weight and whose proportion is more than 5%))

2. Labeling method

1. Method of labeling for non-segregated GM
⇒ (Conclusion) Labeling expressions that are easier to understand than “non-segregated GM” will be exemplified in the Q&A

2. Method of labeling for “non-GM”
⇒ (Conclusion) The percentage (of unintentional GM presence in potato and corn) will be lowered from the current“5% or less” to “0% (below detection limit).”(However, regarding foods that might no longer be labeled as “non-GM” after lowering the standard, the use of a voluntary labeling showing that these foods were treated under a proper identity preserved handling system shall not be precluded)

Following these amendments, it seems likely that most of the products currently labeled as “non-GM” will instead be labeled as “treated under a proper identity preserved handling system”.

About the current system

It is necessary to have a good understanding of the current labeling system for genetically modified food to perceive the nuances of the abovementioned changes. Therefore, we would like to summarize the present regulations here. First of all, food items subject to mandatory labeling are listed on the two appended tables below.

The 17th appended table for the food labeling standards (8 crops in the left column and 33 food groups in the right column

Targeted agricultural products Processed foods
Soybeans (including green soybeans and bean sprouts) ① Tofu (soybean curd) and aburaage (fried soybean curd)
② Kori-dofu (frozen bean curd), okara (soybeans pulp) and yuba (dried bean curd)
③ Natto (fermented soybeans)
④ Soy milks
⑤ Miso (fermented soybean paste)
⑥ Boiled soybeans
⑦ Canned and bottled soybeans
⑧ Soybean flour
⑨ Roasted soybeans
⑩ Food made mainly from ingredients listed in items ① to ⑨
⑪ Food made mainly from soybeans for cooking
⑫ Food made mainly from soybean flour
⑬ Food made mainly from soybean protein
⑭ Food made mainly from green soybeans
⑮ Food made mainly from soybean sprouts
Corn ① Corn snacks
② Corn starch
③ Popcorn
④ Frozen corn
⑤ Canned and bottled corns
⑥ Food made mainly from corn flour
⑦ Food made mainly from corn grits (excluding corn flakes)
⑧ Food made mainly from corns for cooking
⑨ Food made mainly from ingredients listed in items ① to ⑤
Potato ① Potato snacks
② Dried potatoes
③ Frozen potatoes
④ Potato starch
⑤ Food made mainly from potatoes for cooking
⑥ Food made mainly from ingredients listed in items ① to ④
Alfalfa Food made mainly from alfalfa
Sugar beet Food made mainly from sugar beets for cooking
Papaya Food made mainly from papayas

Food Labeling Standards: 18th appended table

Characteristic Processed food Targeted agricultural products
High oleic acid 1 Food made mainly from soybeans (except ones which do not have characteristics listed previously in the 17th appended table after being defatted)
2 Food made mainly from an ingredient listed in 1
Stearidonic acid production
High lysine 1 Food made mainly from corns (except ones which do not have characteristics listed in the above tables (corn))
2 Food made mainly from an ingredient listed in 1

Let’s sum up the difference between mandatory and voluntary labeling:
When the GM agricultural product is not a main ingredient (I.e. one of the three most predominant by weight, and its proportion is at least 5%), the labeling is not mandatory. Regarding the amendments in the preliminary draft of the “report on the discussion on the labeling system for genetically modified food (preliminary draft)”, the two points underlined below will be subject to them.

Mandatory and voluntary labeling of GM foods

“Is the composition and nutritional value equal to the current one?”

→ Yes, it is equal
 → ”The ingredient is GM and segregated ” … Mandatory labeling
Example of labeling: soybean (GM), etc.
 → ”GM and not segregated” … Mandatory labeling
Example of labeling: soybean (GM not segregated), etc.
 → ”The ingredient is non-GM and segregated” “DNA and protein are not detectable” … Voluntary labeling
Example of labeling: soybean or soybean (non-GM)

→ No, it is not equal

… Mandatory labeling
Example of labeling: soybean (high oleic acid GM) etc.

As you can see, in the current system, “non-GM” labeling is allowed if the product was treated under proper identity preserved handling and even when there is certain “unintentional GM presence” (5% or less for soybeans and corns). (But after the amendment, this percentage is planned to be lowered from “5% or less” to “0% (below detectable limit)”.

Future schedule

Based on this preliminary draft of the “report on the discussion on the labeling system for genetically modified food”, the discussions around GMO labeling were planned to be finalized by the end of this fiscal year (end of March, 2018) . We are convinced that this will provide an opportunity to consider the preparation for necessary changes to come in the labeling review workflow, in accordance with the expected points of amendment.






  • 「遺伝子組換え不分別」の表現に代わる表示案を検討しQ&A等に示す。
  • 「遺伝子組換えでない」表示が認められる条件を現行制度の「(大豆及びとうもろこしについて、意図せざる混入率)5%以下」から「不検出」に引き下げる。5%以下の場合、分別生産流通管理が適切に行われている旨の表示を任意で行うことができるようにする。









  • 遺伝子組換え原材料の混入を防ぐため分別管理されたとうもろこしを使用しています。
  • 分別管理された大豆を使用していますが、遺伝子組換えのものが含まれる可能性があります。
  • 遺伝子組換え大豆ができるだけ混入しないよう、生産・流通・加工の段階で適切な管理を行っています。
  • 遺伝子組換え大豆ができるだけ混入しない原材料調達・製造管理を行っています。
  • 大豆の分別管理により、できる限り遺伝子組換えの混入を減らしています。


  • 遺伝子組換え原材料の混入を防ぐため分別管理されたもの
  • 遺伝子組換えの混入を防ぐため分別
  • 遺伝子組換え混入防止管理済




About entering the Muslim “Halal” market in Japan



Coming to the end of my two month’s internship with Label bank and while preparing my final report, I get to realize how far I went with my knowledge. Considering my origins (North Africa) and the cultural differences between the two continents in the one hand and the two countries (Tunisia and Japan) in the other hand, The Japanese food market was a mind twister for me. The food categories and purposes are typically traditional designated generally for a local consumption. Food products that are destined for trade operations are determined depending on the destination and should obey to the local sanitary standards and regulations not only in Japan but in the targeted country which makes it a little complicated since the Japanese regulatory system is different and very detailed.

In fact in Japan the consumer affair agency CAA was established to protect and enhance consumer benefits and covers jurisdictions related to labeling regulations, quality surveillance and trade activities. The difference between Japan and other countries’ standards and regulations starts from the definition of food itself and the categorization of processed food. For example the Ministry of Health, Labor and welfare devises food into 2 groups: Food with health claims which means either foods with nutrient function claims or food for specified health uses and Food for special dietary uses which is basically designated for pregnant women, infants and elderly. The label should include the energy value and nutrients of the product in accordance with the Nutrition Labeling Standards and without any misleading information.

The claims are different from a country to another; for example in some countries the Reduction of disease risk claim is prohibited. Also the claim’s designation may confuse some producers during the process of trade with foreign countries. But the problem now in Japan is the ageing population and the fall of birth rate which leads to the lack in local consumers. The government is trying to open up to the international market and target bigger foreign communities as to guarantee the safety of the country’s economy. Japanese products are being featured now in many foreign markets even in Europe and getting the attention of gastronomy lovers or young people who are fascinated by the Japanese culture, which opens up another tourism perspective for Japan.

But judging from the location of Japan it is more likely that one of the biggest communities in the world is just close by in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, southern Philippines and Thailand, Myanmar etc.; and 62% of the Muslim community in the world lives in Asia/Pacific. Here we are talking about a potential market opportunity that can make Japan start competing with China very soon.

Now entering the Muslim market has its severe and strict requirements which are resumed in two words ‘Halal Certification’. This process is considered new to the Japanese industry judging from the absence of the Halal claim on Japanese products even though some products are basically halal but they don’t bother using Halal as a claim on the label or applying for the Halal certification. This is not a form of ignorance towards the Muslim’s community in Japan but it is more than a culture or a habit. As the Japanese products are now entering slowly and carefully the Halal market, also the Halal certification organisms are getting recognized by well known Halal validation systems like the JAKIM which is very famous and very trusted in most of the Halal markets around the world. Starting from 2017, JAKIM has already recognized 6 Japanese organization and agreed to their credibility in issuing Halal certificates and this is how Japanese companies are stepping up in foreign Muslim countries and starting to export their products abroad. A very important detail that any Japanese company willing to enter this market, is to fix the target and study its needs. For example it is useless to export a product to a country which is the first in the world in producing that same product. The company or more precisely the product innovation team should focus on the needs, the traditional tastes and flavors, food habits and the purchasing power/capacity of a middle class employee of that target country. This way a Halal certified Japanese product which has been well customized will be able to compete with the local products.

Obtaining the Halal certificate for a product is not that easy and neither impossible. Even though the requirements are very simple and logic, the transition is quiet hard sometimes for the industry in the process of switching to Halal. It is a must to not use any non Halal products (pork, meat derived from animals that has not been slaughtered in the Islamic way, blood, corpses, etc. Or anything derived from them like gelatin). Not only in the product but it is also forbidden to have any residue in the industry itself as it may cause cross contamination.
The security and quality control study has established analytical methods and cleaning processes that will end any industry’s nightmare and get the product certified as Halal.

Today, our mission is to assist their clients through their journey and find solutions and back up plans to any possible issue or unexpected events. Once the objective is successfully attended, Label bank keeps always track of the situation and suggests innovative ideas and special assistance to its clients to grow more the business.

I am very grateful to everyone in the food company I met and to my colleagues at Label bank who shared a precious time with me and made me the successful intern that I am today.









 現在、イスラムの市場に参入するには厳格で厳しい“ハラル認証” を受ける必要があります。このプロセスは、日本にとって新しいものなので、ハラル認証を受けられるにもかかわらず、認証を受けずに表示をしていない製品が見られます。これは日本のイスラムコミュニティを無視しているわけではなく、文化や慣例の問題です。日本製品が、今後ゆっくり注意深くハラル市場へ参入するようになると、ハラル市場で世界的にもっとも信頼されているJAKIMという認証機関によるシステムによって今後、ハラル認証は認知されていくことでしょう。2017年からJAKIMは日本の6つの組織をハラル認証の発行機関として指定しました。この仕組みにより、日本企業は海外のイスラム市場へ参入し、製品を輸出しています。また、この重要なプロセスにより、どの日本企業も相手国を理解し、ニーズを知ることでイスラム市場へ参入することができます。例えば、ある国の企業、正確には製品開発チームは、ニーズや伝統的な特色、風味、食習慣、購買力、目的国の中間階層の労働者の能力に注目すべきです。そうすれば、認証を受けた日本製品が現地の状況に適合し、現地生産の製品と競合できるようになるでしょう。