FOSHU Foods in Japan
~ June 1997 No.11 ~
The Japanese have a wide variety of foods to choose from that have been approved by their health regulatory officials. Instead of using the term functional foods the Japanese coined the term FOSHU or foods for specific health use. Since this system was put into place in 1993, over 69 foods have been approved, and therefore can carry the FOSHU label.
The Japanese system is based on a list of approved foods and ingredients that the Japanese Department of Health feel have enough scientific evidence to support health claims. If a company can show that its food product contains one of these approved foods / ingredients, then it can carry the FOSHU label. So in Japan it is not necessary to provide evidence that wheat bran, for example, has health benefits. You only have to show that wheat bran is in your product.
Foods or ingredients that are eligible for FOSHU designation can be classified into the familiar categories of carbohydrates, proteins, mineral etc. as shown in Table 1. Carbohydrates are by far the largest group of foods or ingredients.
| casein phospho peptide|
casein dodeca peptide
calcium as citrate malate
| rice globulin|
eucommia leaf glycoside
What things are on Japan’s approved list? Table 2 is a listing of the foods or ingredients that qualify for FOSHU status. Also included is the number of products that currently have approval because they contain that specific ingredient. There is no doubt that the Japanese food manufacturers are using the food labelling legislation and FOSHU system to supply the Japanese consumer with functional food products.
|Food or ingredient with FOSHU status||Number of approved products|
|xylo oligosaccharides:||3 products|
|calcium as citrate malate:||3 products|
|fructo oligosaccharides:||10 products|
|soybean oligosaccharides:||8 products|
|isomalto oligosaccharides:||2 products|
|soy protein:||5 products|
|casein dodeca peptide:|
|casein phospho peptide:||2 products|
|indigestible dextrin:||4 products|
|partially hydolyzed guar gum:|
|green tea polyphenols:||3 products|
|eucommia leaf glycoside:|
Japan's Ministry of Health
Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU)