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Michael Dautner
April 23, 2020

Japan Temporarily Loosens Food Labelling Rules to Help Firms Cope with COVID-19

 

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Japan is one of the countries which are affected by the pandemic of COVID-19. Like every other country, their industry faced a huge hit because of it. The industry, which has been affected most by the coronavirus, is the food industry. Food manufacturers are finding it hard to complete the food demand and there is a looming crisis. Coronavirus has affected every country around the world, which means the supply chains are in septic shock. The food manufactures and food processors cannot find the raw materials from the sources they usually were taken from.

Japan is in a state of partial lockdown, which means all the non-essential business and offices are closed. This is the case with many food raw materials providers, especially the ones from overseas. In order to fulfil the demand of raw material for food processing and manufacturing, food manufacturers and processors are using different raw materials and from different sources.

Looking at the situation, the Japanese government has decided to temporarily loosen the label restrictions they have on the food. It means that the Japanese food manufacturers can now use the same labels for the products they are making, even if they are using a relatively different set of ingredients. While there are some conditions to it, it is a step to ease some of the burden on the food industry.

Japanese food ministry further stated; while they have allowed the food manufacturers and food processors to skip the part of designing new labels, they can’t simply sell the subpar food products under that. They have to strictly follow the standards set by the Japanese food authority. While the food label conditions are loosened, there are some restrictions to that, such as: food manufacturers have to print the allergens and any other material that can cause any harm and expiry/best before dates etc. In addition to that, these new regulations are only for the food manufacturers, which simply couldn’t respond to the supply chain shock, either due to low production of the raw material in the country or due to the addition of foreign ingredients.

Japanese food authority has also warned everyone who is intending to misuse these new regulations and strict action will be taken against them. Japan, like the rest of the world, is suffering because of coronavirus, but acts like these are a breath of fresh air from the government, especially for the food industry.

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