Comments on Japan’s Genetically Modified Organism Labeling System

1.Expansion of Items for Mandatory Labeling

 Twenty years have already passed since genetically modified crops were first introduced. In Japan, the safety of GM crops is ensured at the national level through rigorous processes, including scientific evaluations by the Food Safety Commission and approval of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, in accordance with the Food Sanitation Act. In this respect, the Japan Oilseed Processors Association has no objection to these safety requirements. However, careful attention to the government’s recent proposal for a mandatory genetically modified organism labeling system for consumer choice is needed because of the risk of misrepresenting product quality, especially for Soybean and Canola Oil which is now newly proposed to be included in this mandatory labeling system. We believe the expansion of such labeling requirements requires utmost care, considering the contradiction that exists between this labeling system and the underlying scientific basis.
 Regarding this issue, the Consumer Affairs Agency states in its review meeting report on unified food labeling that priority should be given to safety in expanding mandatory GMO labeling, concluding that any revision of labeling systems for consumer choice should be considered more carefully.