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Gov't to ease restrictions on food additives.

TOKYO, July 12 Kyodo

The health ministry decided to ease restrictions on food additives if they are accepted internationally, its officials said Friday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's decision will reverse a 30-year-old policy of recommending additive-free foods. The ministry decided on the change because an increasing number of imported foods contained additives that are approved internationally, but not in Japan.

The policy change is bound to face criticism from consumer groups that remain wary over food additives, analysts said.

Companies that were forced to recall their products following news that Kyowa Perfumery & Chemical Co. manufactured banned flavoring agents are also likely to feel disappointed with the ministry's new position, they said.

Responding to critics, the ministry's food sanitation chief, Shimpei Ozaki, told a press conference on Friday, ''It causes public anxiety and confuses markets if we continue to use outdated standards to force food makers to recall their products.''

The ministry will allow foods with ferrocyanide to be distributed by the end of this month, they said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Jul 15, 2002
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