Japan moves to block false organic claims

July 7, 2004, as reported by justfood.com: Concern over the mislabeling of organic products led Tokyo to institute stricter labeling criteria for all organic products. Now three months after the announcement the farm ministry has launched a new initiative with targeted government inspections that will help ensure the accuracy of the Japanese organic label.

Tokyo has banned the use of labels indicating 'no or limited use of agricultural chemicals' without proper grounds. The inspections will test the validity of claims made by organic and near-organic food retailers and help restore consumer confidence in the quality of their purchase.

The farm ministry launched on-site inspection at farms and over 3,000 retailers selling agricultural products earlier this week including supermarkets and grocery stores specializing in natural foods.

Analysis to detect residual agricultural chemicals will be made and logs of cultivation history and growing sites will all be inspected. Last year it was reported that 6% of Japanese supermarkets and retailers were breaking organic product labeling rules.