According to the latest MHLW notification, 58 batches of food products imported from 18 countries were found non-compliant in May 2022. Among these products, the most non-compliant imports came from America (20.6%), followed by China (17.2%) and Vietnam (15%). The agricultural products that account for 62% are still the majority of the overall rejections.
The major reasons for the import rejection were:
Incorrect use of additives (28%)
Detection of toxic or harmful substances (18%)
Excessive pesticide residues (17%)
1. Food additive
Japan implements a positive list system for food additives, and the use of "designated additives" must comply with the official use standards. This time, half of the 12 batches of rejected food from the U.S. failed for additive non-compliance, specifically, for the incorrect use of benzoic acid in sirup. According to Japan's Standards for the use of Food Additives, the amount of benzoic acid used as a food preservative in sirup should not exceed 0.60g/kg. Stakeholders shall ensure the regulatory compliance of additives in the food before export.
2. Food contact materials
In May, the residue level of 4% acetic acid was out of limit in six batches of food contact materials made with melamine-formaldehyde resin, and all these unqualified products were returned or destroyed.
Regarding food contact materials, MHLW re-opened the nomination process for "existing substances" in the FCM Positive List on April 26 this year and released a guidance document specifying the inclusion criteria for the FCM Positive List. This is the last opportunity to add an "existing substance", the deadline for comments is July 15, 2022.