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Study panels set up by the agriculture and health ministries agreed at a joint meeting Tuesday to unify freshness labels on food products to avoid confusing consumers, government officials said.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry currently compels food companies to use wording that complies with the Japanese Agricultural Standards law, while the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry mandates the use of labels that comply with the Food Sanitation Law.

In light of views garnered in public opinion surveys, the study panels agreed to recommend the use of the JAS-based model.

Both models are designed to show whether a product is fresh, with food companies allowed to use either. This system has reportedly caused confusion among some consumers.

The ministries decided to unify this procedure in the wake of several mislabeling scandals that have undermined public trust in the food labeling system.

The ministries will revise ordinances in order to unify the two labels under the JAS-based model.

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