National

Japan set to introduce first domestic-made liquid baby formula in 2019

JIJI, Kyodo

Ezaki Glico Co. will become the first Japanese company to make and sell liquid baby formula in the country.

After obtaining permission from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Consumer Affairs Agency, the maker of food and dairy products aims to launch the liquid formula as early as next spring.

Industry peers Meiji Co., Morinaga Milk Industry Co. and Megmilk Snow Brand Co. are planning to follow suit.

On Monday, Ezaki Glico exhibited a sample product and 125-milliliter paper cartons intended to contain the formulated milk at a news conference in Tokyo held jointly with Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward, the Japan Dietetic Association and other parties.

Noting that the final product is expected to remain fresh for six months after production unless the carton is opened, Ezaki Glico said the product will be added to the ward’s emergency food reserves under an initiative to protect the lives of babies during disasters.

Unlike conventional powdered infant formula, which requires hot water and time for cooling down, Ezaki Glico’s liquid formula product can be stored at room temperature and quickly served.

The JDA plans to create guidelines on how to store and use the liquid formula and make them available to local governments and medical institutions in January.

The health ministry lifted a ban on domestic production and sales of liquid baby formula upon revising a relevant ordinance in August.

While liquid formula is widely used abroad for its convenience, its production and sale were not allowed in Japan due to the absence of government safety standards.

Use of formula donated by Finland as emergency aid during the 2016 Kumamoto Prefecture earthquakes prompted the ministry to begin studying ways to set standards for domestic production of liquid formula. Its merits were made apparent in the aftermath of the disaster as its use was not dependent on the availability of clean water.