Japan Consults on Outline to Amend Food Sanitation Act

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January 31, 2018Verisk 3E Regulatory Research TeamBlog
On 19 January 2018, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) invited public comments on a draft outline of amendments to food safety controls. The public comments will be accepted until 7 February 2018.

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The key controls proposed by the draft outline are as follows:
  • Food Poisoning: Measures to deal with area wide food poisoning incidents are proposed. For example, MHLW would be able to set up a council to accelerate countermeasures and cooperation with the relevant parties of such incidents.
  • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP): Implementation of food sanitation management through adoption of HACCP is proposed.
  • Health Foods: Businesses would be required to report actual or possible health claims due to health foods to MHLW through prefectural governments.
  • Food Tools/Equipment and Packages/Containers: Development of an internationally-harmonized system to ensure safety of food tools/equipment and packages/containers, such as adoption of a positive list system for synthetic resin, etc. as raw materials, is proposed. Furthermore, manufacturers and sellers would be required to provide information on conformity of their products with the said system to their clients.
  • Food Business Licensing: Revision of the food business licensing system and introduction of a food business notification system are proposed.
  • Recall of Foods: Businesses would be required to report recall of foods to the prefectural governments.
  • Imported Foods: Measures to ensure safety of imported foods (e.g. foods subject to manufacture based on HACCP management or food sanitation certificate) are proposed. Target foods are expected to be meat, milk, milk products, oysters and globefish.
Additional detail on the outline is accessible online in Japanese.
Once the outline is finalized, MHLW is planning to submit a proposal to amend the Food Sanitation Act reflecting the measures in the outline, to the current ordinary national legislature (Diet) session. The Diet started on 22 January 2018 and usually closes from June through September.
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Companies in food industries, including manufacturers, processors, importers, wholesalers and retailers of foods and food tools/equipment and packages/containers, should be aware that the Japanese Government is intending to introduce tighter controls under the Food Sanitation Act. The affected companies may comment on the draft outline by 7 February 2018 via mail, fax or online system.