National / Crime & Legal

Bill would give '62 law tools to fight false food labeling

Kyodo

The government on Friday drafted a bill to strengthen measures against the false labeling of food products after a scandal last year in which prestigious hotel chains were caught lying on restaurant menus just as Japan was vying to get its cuisine recognized by UNESCO.

The bill would revise the 1962 law against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representations by setting penalties for those who label edible goods incorrectly or misrepresent the dieting effects of foods.

The government will submit the bill to the Diet during the extraordinary session ending Nov. 30. Prompt approval would see the revised law take force by spring 2016.

The bill sets out penalties for labeling that misleads consumers into thinking that the goods or services concerned either are better than they are in reality or offer advantages to consumers.

Last year, a string of hotels and department stores admitted to falsely labeling certain items on restaurant menus, such as by stating incorrectly that the ingredients were grown in a celebrated region of Japan.

The bill will set penalties at 3 percent of total sales of the goods or services in question over the preceding three years. No penalties will be imposed if the three-year sales amount to less than ¥50 million.

The penalties will be halved if the dealers voluntarily admit misconduct.

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