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3-Food: GE food labelling in Japan on the way



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Nikkei English News via NewsEdge Corporation :
TOKYO (Nikkei)
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Wednesday morning edition
Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. -- 02-10-99
Copyright 1999, Nikkei America


Foodstuff makers are voluntarily labeling their products to reflect the 
fact that they do not contain genetically recombined agricultural 
products. Behind the move is strong concern among consumers about the 
safety of gene-spliced crops.
An international body comprising about 170 countries will begin 
discussing on Feb. 22 if it should oblige food makers to label products 
containing genetically altered farm goods. While many producers are 
resisting the proposal, labeling of goods made from conventional farm 
products is becoming widespread.
Some 30 of the 180 consumers' cooperatives nationwide have begun labeling 
conventional fermented soybeans and tofu, according to the Japanese 
Consumers' Co-operation Union. Some miso and soy sauce makers have been 
certified by a U.S. food inspection company as not containing 
gene-spliced beans.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has held meetings on 
the matter since May 1997. However, "we cannot tell when we will come to 
a decision," a ministry officer said.
While many consumers are demanding foodstuff makers use the labels, "we 
do not wish to pass on the expense of sorting conventional crops from 
genetically recombined ones to the consumer," an employee of a food 
producer said.


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