Japan’s health ministry gives green light to sale of unrefrigerated tofu in aseptic packaging

TOKYO, July 14 – The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (MHLW) announced the official removal of the ban on the sale of tofu at room temperature in Japan on July 13, 2018. So far, the domestic tofu producers were required to sell only refrigerated products to prevent food poisoning, but now, they can sell unrefrigerated ones if they are “bacteria-free filled tofu” packed in an aseptic container. For some domestic “filled tofu” producers who already sell unrefrigerated products in the export market, the change in the law is expected to provide a boost to expand the market both at home and abroad.

On July 13, MHLW revised part of “Standards and criteria for food and food additives, etc.” which is one of the ordinances released under the Food Sanitation Act. The revision was made on the rules for the manufacturing and sale of tofu.

The bacteria-free tofu in an aseptic packaging is made by filling bacteria-free soy milk and “nigari” firming agent in an aseptic container and heating it for a specified period. The poly-coated paperboard packaging that locks out bacteria will allow the food producers to make long-life tofu with no preservatives or additives.

Currently, two Japanese companies, Sato-no-Yuki Shokuhin and Morinaga Milk, produce the biologically clean tofu in the aseptic packaging. Their products are sold in Japan at retailers that can accommodate refrigerators, and overseas at glossaries at room temperature. According to Sato-no-Yuki Shokuhin, the company is “planning to create packaging of unrefrigerated tofu for domestic customers and expecting to launch the domestic sale in the next spring at the earliest.”

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