MAFF's GM Food Labelling Standards
On November 29, 1999 the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) released its GM food labelling proposal for public comment. Beginning April 1, 2001, MAFF requires labelling for 24 foods made from corn and soybeans, including tofu, corn snacks, and natto (fermented soybeans).
MAFF originally excluded oils and other highly processed foods made with genetically modified ingredients from the list because the absence / presence of GM content cannot be verified through testing since foreign DNA is destroyed during processing. However, on September 3, 2001, MAFF revised the labelling proposal that requires high oleic acid soybean oil made from high oleic acid GM soybeans be labelled as "GM high oleic soybean oil".
On February 22, 2002, MAFF announced further revision of the biotechnology labelling scheme to include potato products in which introduced DNA or protein can be found.
MAFF set 5% as an unofficial maximum threshold level for adventitious mixing of genetically modified content in products labelled as "not genetically modified". If adventitious mixing of GM content in foods labelled as "non-GM" is found to be exceeding 5%, even though segregation procedures are followed, MAFF instructs the manufacturer to correct the labelling.
(For more, go to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Report on Japan Biotechnology MAFF's Biotech Food Labelling Standards, March 2002) http://www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200203/135683696.pdf
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