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Food Labeling for Processed Foods

Genetically Modified Foods (GM foods) whose safety has been authorized by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare shall be labeled such as “genetically modified” when they are in the market.

The Quality Labeling Standard for Genetically Modified Foods(PDF:71KB) provides foods items subject to labeling and the method of labeling.

1) Food Items for Mandatory Labeling
Food items subject to mandatory GM labeling are designated for those in which genetically modified DNA or proteins derived from the DNA can be detected even after processing, or those whose compositions or nutritional values differ in comparison to their conventional counterparts.

As of March 2006, six agricultural products and processed foods of them have been designated as mandatory labeling items. Taking into account the commercialization of new GM foods and newly developed detection methods, the items are reviewed every year.

2) Labeling Scheme for GM Foods
In the case that products are ensured to consist or contain GM products through identity preserved handling (IP handling), those shall be labeled such as “Soy beans (genetically modified), while in the case that IP handling has not been conducted for products, they shall be labeled such as “Soy beans (no segregation practice with GM products)”.

As voluntary labeling, products are ensured not to contain GM products though IP handling, they can be labeled as “Soy beans (non-GM),” or “Not containing GM products”.

3) Identity Preserved Handling
“IP handling” means handling GM or non-GM separately in each stage of production, distribution, processing, and transportation from producers to manufacturers not to commingle with others with proofs of the effective handling by documents. Please refer the distribution manuals below for detailed information:


  (These manuals are published by Japan Food Industry Center)