Nation to get guidelines against dishonest menus


The government plans to draw up guidelines to tackle dishonest menus and food labels that have been used by many hotels, restaurants and department stores across Japan.

At a meeting Monday of officials from relevant agencies, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga asked for effective measures to ensure suitable representations of dishes and food products at such locations.

The government will work out guidelines under the law against unjustified premiums and misleading representations, Suga said, urging the agencies to make sure inappropriate representations are corrected as soon as they are discovered.

The dishonest labeling issue “could fundamentally undermine consumer trust in food,” Suga warned. “The government needs to take thorough steps.”

The government will stop the false labeling problem from spreading any further, vowed Consumer Affairs Minister Masako Mori, who also attended the meeting. She called for “swift action” to restore consumer confidence.

The government agencies will release the results of their investigations into the sectors they supervise, as well as preventive measures, by the end of November.

Other participants at the meeting included officials from the health and agriculture ministries and the Fair Trade Commission.

The hotels, restaurants and department stores cheated consumers by selling food products and serving dishes lower in quality or less attractive than indicated on their menus and labels.

Some served defrosted fish even though the menus said the fish was fresh, while others sold processed beef instead of the steak that they claimed to sell. In some cases, produce origins were falsified.