From the start of fiscal 2001, food manufacturers will be required to add new labels to their products to make consumers aware of any genetically modified ingredients. The plans to revise the Japan Agricultural Standards Law (JAS) were revealed by government sources from the Tokyo metropolitan government on Monday. 

Currently, JAS does not require food manufacturers or wholesalers to label the GM ingredients, but the government believes this is not adequate. It has also called for the labelling of cloned beef, an issue that is currently not dealt with by the JAS law.

Public comment will be sought on the issue, as well as public approval of the logos to be used, before the revisions to JAS are implemented. From April however it is likely that food producers will be required to clearly identify GM products in every product’s list of ingredients.

They will also have to label products according to one of three categories; “all raw materials have been genetically modified,” “some raw materials have been genetically modified” or “no raw materials have been genetically modified.”