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Japan 12.02.2024

Japan Tightens Regulations on Non-Chilled Milk Products, Mandates Certification for Export

Source: The DairyNews
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The Japanese government has unveiled plans to introduce more rigorous standards for milk products that do not necessitate refrigeration. This move implies that exporters of such items will be required to obtain additional certificates from the country of origin before gaining access to the Japanese market.
Japan Tightens Regulations on Non-Chilled Milk Products, Mandates Certification for Export
Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has released a ministerial proposal seeking to amend existing dairy standards. The proposal is open for public and industry feedback before anticipated enforcement around mid-March this year.

The amendment targets milk and dairy products that do not require storage at temperatures below 10°C or are allowed to be stored at room temperature. This includes regular milks, modified milks, low-fat milks, skim milks, processed milks, liquid milk preparations, and other milk-based beverages.

According to the ministerial proposal, new regulations will be established for these products based on the deliberations of the Milk, Meat, and Fishery Subcommittee of the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council. The regulations will cover microorganism testing, manufacturing methods, and sterilization records.

For instance, products falling into the category of sterilized and aseptically packaged or packaged and then sterilized will need to undergo specific sterilization processes. Manufacturers must adhere to pre-approved and determined processes for aseptic filling into pre-sterilized packaging. The regulations also include maintaining records regarding sterilization, with specific requirements for temperature and duration.

Furthermore, MHLW now mandates all exporters of these milk products to Japan to obtain a certificate from the relevant local authority to ensure food safety throughout the supply chain. This requirement was previously applicable only to milk products not approved by MHLW for storage at room temperature.

The amendment will be enforced in mid-March 2024, with certain transitional changes allowing additional time for implementing specific requirements. Notably, industry and public comments on the proposed changes can be submitted to MHLW until the deadline on February 17, 2024.

One significant focus of the amendment revolves around the records of self-recording thermometers. The ministry has set specific timeframes for manufacturers to keep these records, requiring at least one year for products that can be stored at room temperature and three months for those requiring refrigeration.
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