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[Updated] Japan Updates Food Composition Standard Tables

The Food Composition Standard Tables formulated by Japan MEXT is a standard calculating food nutrition for hospitals and enterprises. Enterprises can use the data in the Standard Tables to determine the value on the label. The Eighth Revised Version subdivided the carbohydrates, changed the energy calculation method, and enriched the information on prepared food. In addition, the food items listed increased to 2,478.

On August 10, 2021, the Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan-(Eighth Revised Version) is officially implemented. The seventh edition was repealed accordingly.

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On December 25, 2020, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan released the amendment to the Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan-(Eighth Revised Version) (from now on "Standard Tables"), which mainly subdivided the carbohydrates, changed the energy calculation method, and enriched the information on prepared food. Besides, the number of listed food has increased by 287, now amounting to 2,478.


Subdivision of carbohydrates

To calculate sugar intake and energy intake more accurately, the MEXT subdivided the carbohydrates into the following 6 parts.

general-components.png

Besides, the MEXT also changed the energy calculation method in which the actual state of energy-producing components could be accurately controlled.

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Enriching the information on Prepared food

To help estimate foods' nutrition after cooking, the MEXT includes more information such as the outline of cooking, records of mass changes, and component values of Prepared distribution foods.

The following is a comparison between the 2015 version and the 2020 version about the food items.

Number of foods in food group

No.

Food group

No. of foods in 2015

No. of foods in 2020

1

Cereals

159

205

2

Potatoes and starches

62

70

3

Sugars and sweeteners

27

30

4

Pulses

93

108

5

Nuts and seeds

43

46

6

Vegetables

362

401

7

Fruits

174

183

8

Mushrooms

49

55

9

Algae

53

57

10

Fish, mollusks and crustaceans

419

453

11

Meat

291

310

12

Eggs

20

23

13

Milk and milk products

58

59

14

Fats and oils

31

34

15

Confectionaries

141

185

16

Beverages

58

61

17

Seasonings and spices

129

148

18

Prepared distribution foods*

22

50

Total

2,191

2,478

*Demand for prepared foods and prepared frozen foods provided in frozen, chilled, and retort pouches are increasing due to changes in individual meals and facility meals in recent years. For this reason, the “18. Prepared foods”, which previously contained some frozen foods, was renamed to “18. Prepared distribution foods”.

It is noteworthy that nutrition facts labeling is mandatory for processed foods in the new labeling system, which was fully enforced in April 2020[4]. The enterprise can use the data in the "Standard Tables" or the data obtained from the raw material factory to determine the value on the label.

Nonetheless, in the following two cases, the data must be obtained using the methods specified in the "Standard Tables".

  • Nutrient content label claims low-calorie, low-salt, etc.

  • Food with Nutrient Function Claims

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