Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Food with Health Claims, Food for Special Dietary Uses, and Nutrition Labeling

Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, Japan

1.Food with Health Claims (FHC)
FHC refer to foods that comply with the specifications and standards established by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare and are labeled with certain nutritional or health functions. These foods are categorized into two groups, according to differences in purpose and function:
  a)   Foods with Nutrient Function Claims (FNFC):
foods that are labeled with the functions of nutritional ingredients (vitamins and minerals)
  b)   Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU):
foods officially approved to claim their physiological effects on the human body

Medicine Food with Health Claims Other Food
(may include so-called functional foods)
(standard regulation system)
(individual approval system)

2.Food for Special Dietary Uses (FOSDU)
FOSDU refer to foods that are approved/permitted to display that the food is appropriate for specified dietary use.  There are five categories of FOSDU:
  (1)   Formulas for pregnant or lactating women
  (2)   Infant Formulas
  (3)   Foods for the elderly with difficulty in masticating or swallowing
  (4)   Medical foods for the ill
  (5)   Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU)

3.Labeling system for Nutrient
Nutrition Labeling includes declaration of energy value and nutrients in accordance with the Nutrition Labeling Standards.  The labeling is voluntary for all foods except foods with nutrition claims.

4.Prohibition of Misleading or Deceptive Labeling Claims (under Health Promotion Law)
Any claims of efficacy and function made on functional food must be relevant and based on scientific ground.