What is "Health food" ?
The foods so-called “health food” are not defined by law but refer to the whole of the food which is widely sold or used as the food contributing to health conservation and enhancement.
Included in the national institutions in this regard are the ”Institution for food for specified health uses” and the “Institution for food with nutrient function claims” which require fulfillment of the criteria etc. established by the central government concerning safety and effectiveness of food (transfer of jurisdiction to the Consumer Affairs Agency on September 1, 2009).
In addition, since FY2015, “Food with functional claims” has been in effect under the Food Labeling Act, which allows labeling of functional claims at the responsibility of the enterprises etc. based on scientific grounds. For enquiry regarding "food with health claims, please contact Consumer Affairs Agency. (03-3507-8800)
Ensuring safety of health foods
The Amendment of the Food Sanitation Act
The amendment has introduced the following measures in order to prevent health damage:
・A designation system by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare for the ingredients and componenets that requre particular care when contained in food
・A notification system that requires business operators to report health damage cases to governments when they are caused by intake of their food products containing the designated ingredients or components
MHLW is also going to request the business operators who manufacture or sell foods containing the designated ingredients or components, to manage the manufacturing appropriately and to ensure safety on the ingredients and products according to specifications and standards for the designated ingredients and componenets to be established by MHLW.