Japan food labelling revision: ‘Artificial’ and ‘synthetic’ terms banned for food additives
By Pearly Neo
- Last updated on
Japan has banned the use of the terms ‘artificial’ and ‘synthetic’ to describe food additives on all food and beverage labels after consumer research found they were causing consumers to shun such products.
This was announced by the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) as a revision to the country’s Food Labelling Standards, a revision based on a Food Additive Labelling study conducted by the agency.
“According to the study results, consumers tend to avoid products that are labelled with the words ‘artificial’ and ‘synthetic’ when it comes to food additives [even though these have been certified by the government],” said CAA in the revision report.
“Hence after discussion it is the consensus that these terms should be deleted from food labels, [so] ‘synthetic preservatives’ and ‘artificial sweeteners’ [should be termed] ‘preservatives’ and ‘sweeteners’ [so as to] prevent further misidentification by consumers.
“Additionally, surveys conducted with trade associations and other industry stakeholders have found that the term ‘chemical seasonings’ may affect consumers' understanding [and] a further study will be carried out to investigate this.”
Food manufacturers had to remove the terms ‘artificial’ and synthetic’ from being associated with additives including sweeteners, colourants, preservatives, flavourings and fragrances.