Following stricter controls for chemical residues in foods implemented in Japan recently, food manufacturers are rising to the challenge with their own testing and traceability systems. Tokyo implemented new Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) as part of the “Positive List” system for regulating agricultural chemicals on food on May 29, 2006.

Since then food makers have been testing for such residues on a consignment basis even after import control tests. As well as testing their own foods large firms have been offering the same testing service to smaller producers.

Foreign importers meanwhile have been embracing traceability systems to assure customers of their foodstuffs quality. Australia and New Zealand for example have been meeting the additional food safety requirements and making assurances by offering additional certifications and traceability systems with some of their meat and produce exports to Japan. Industry insiders also point to an increased demand for health, nutrition and organic food products and ingredients as a result of the new regulations.