The Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan is now considering expanding the scope of mandatory labeling of so-called GM foods that contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms.
Under the mandatory labeling system, eight kinds of agricultural products, including soybean, corn, potato, rapeseed, and cottonseed, are currently subject to the labeling requirement.
Furthermore, GM labeling is also required for 33 food items containing ingredients of these 8 kinds of farm crops such as tofu (bean curd), natto (fermented soybeans), miso (soybean paste) and snack food.
The Consumer Affairs Agency, however, mandates labeling only for food products whose three largest ingredients by weight contain GM crop substances and the GM substances account for 5 percent or more of all the ingredients.
There are also such food items as glucose-fructose liquid sugar subject only to a voluntary GM labeling.
The Agency set up a panel to make a study on an overhaul of the GM foods labeling system.
At the panel’s first meeting held on April 26, one of the members urged that the scope of the labeling system should be expanded from a viewpoint of protecting consumers’ right to select foods, pointing out a problem in the market that lots of GM ingredients are now used in voluntary-labeling GM food items.