Japan is establishing plant-based labelling rules to remove hurdles for the country’s vegan food industry. In a press conference, government minister Taro Kono described the lack of guidelines as a “shackle” for the industry’s development, and also alluded to possible clarifications about novel cell-based proteins further down the line.
Japan is moving ahead to establish the country’s first labelling rules for plant-based foods. At a recent conference, the country’s Liberal Democratic Party public affairs department director Taro Kono said regarding vegan foods: “the fact that we haven’t discussed food labelling has been a shackle for corporate business development.”
Plant-based food labelling
Kono also mentioned that the plant-based industry is expected to grow significantly and that Japan should not miss out on the opportunity. He added that plant-based products “won’t be a problem if the expression [used on the packaging] is not misleading.”
Clarifying the government’s rules, Kono shared that vegan food products should be clear in communicating to consumers that the item does not contain any animal-based ingredients. Statements such as “contains soy meat”, “not meat” and “oat milk” would be acceptable terms.
In addition, if a product bears the term “100% plant-based”, producers should add further information about “whether it is derived from plants including food additives”. Disclaimers should be added to products whenever it is not explicitly clear in the name of the item that it is vegan. For example, “New Meat” should come with a statement that says “made from soy” or “not meat”.
These rules would apply to plant-based meat alternatives, as well as vegan substitutes for dairy, egg, and seafood.
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