The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry decided Friday to increase the range of processed food products that must carry labels indicating the ingredients’ points of origin.
It also asked an advisory panel of experts to consider which products should be added to the list.
The ministry made the request to the panel, which it jointly commissioned with the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, in an effort to clarify the origins of mixed products, such as when imported fish are processed in Japan.
At present, points of origin must be labeled on eight kinds of processed products, including pickled plums. The measure was introduced in response to requests from domestic manufacturers of such merchandise.
The farm ministry is hoping the panel will recommend additional products that use agricultural and marine products to be considered for the requirement to alleviate situations in which some products using foreign ingredients are labeled as domestic after being processed in Japan.
The ministry plans to finalize the candidates by around mid-September. It will decide which ones to add to the list after soliciting opinions from consumers and related manufacturing associations, ministry officials said.
The panel agreed Friday to look at products that see a large fluctuation price depending on the point of origin of their ingredients.
Some members said they must choose the additional products using an objective method that will make sense to everyone.
The panel is expected to consider products ranging from “natto” fermented soybeans and wheat flour, which go through relatively simple processing, to those whose ingredients can come from a wide variety of places around the globe.
It will also think about ways of writing labels for products such as flour, which could have a mixture of raw materials from a number of different countries in one product, and canned fruit.