Food labeling, a set of specific items of information presented on food packages, is intended to secure food safety and help people to improve or promote their health and nutritional status, and is regulated by the Food Sanitation Act, Japan Agricultural Standards Act, Health Promotion Act, and other laws. Among the items to be displayed, ingredient and nutrition labeling (under the Health Promotion Act) provides consumers with a basis for making healthy, nutritional food choices by presenting information on: the content of energy and nutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate [sugars and dietary fiber], sodium, and others); nutrient content claims, such as “high/low”, “containing/not containing”, and “fortified/reduced”; nutrient function claims for Food with Nutrient Function Claims; and specified dietary use claims for Food for Specified Health Uses, in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations. I review the current status of the Japanese regulatory system for food with health claims and related issues in light of international regulatory trends.
Although two years have passed since the nuclear power plant accident, Japanese people are still concerned about the radioactive contamination of food. For the purpose of contributing to an understanding about the risk of such contamination, we have overviewed reports and data published by both public and private institutions. The amounts of radioactive cesium in foods are extremely smaller than those of 40K in foods, irrespective of the item and harvesting locality. The degrees of internal exposure and risk derived from the contamination of food with radioactive cesium are less significant as compared with those of external exposure in areas at relatively high dose rates, radioactive hot spots. Highly contaminated foods are strictly controlled and are not marketed. It is concluded that the levels of radioactive contamination of marketed foods are much lower than those that bring about health hazard.
Fifty kinds of healthful teas were collected in local markets in the Shikoku area of Japan, to investigate their functions with respect to benefits to human health. Hot water extracts of the teas were examined by assay systems including DPPH radical scavenging, α-glucosidase inhibition, and xanthine oxidase inhibition. The DPPH radical scavenging results revealed that Aioi-Bancha had the most potent radical scavenging activity and was followed by Yamamomo and Urajirokashi-Cha. The α-glucosidase inhibition assay results demonstrated that Yamamomo, Shirakashi-Cha, Aioi-Bancha, Kakinoha-Cha, Urajirokashi-Cha, and Yasou-Cha (kinmizuhiki) were potent inhibitory teas against yeast′s α-glucosidase, whereas Yamaguwanoha and Kuwa-Cha showed potent activity toward α-glucosidase of rat small intestinal powders. Strong xanthine oxidase inhibition was observed in the extracts from three teas made of Labiatae plants (Seisou-Cha, Shiso-Cha, Kakidoushi-Cha). HPLC and LC-MS analyses of the tea extracts clarified that they had very similar constituents and rosmarinic acid was a typically common constituent in the three teas. The contained rosmarinic acid in the extracts is probably responsible for the strong xanthine oxidase inhibition of the three healthful teas.
This study examined changes in standard plate counts and bacterial flora during the manufacturing process, including preservation, of vegetable salad based on the following guidelines recommended by the “Manual of hygiene control for large scale cooking facilities” : materials, washing in running water and pretreatment, soaking in detergent and rinsing in running water, sodium hypochlorite bactericide and rinsing in running water, cutting bactericidal treated materials and mixtures and refrigerated storage at 10 °C for 24 and 48 hours. We also examined fluctuations in the nonfermenting gram-negative bacilli (NFGNB) that are widely distributed in vegetables. Standard plate counts and bacterial flora in the vegetables did not significantly change as a result of the above seven processes. Many species of NFGNB isolates were distributed in the vegetables. The proportion of Enterobacteriaceae tended to increase in salad refrigerated at 10°C for 48 hours. The most frequently detected isolates were spore-forming bacteria and Burkholderia cepacia. In addition, most of the bacterial species detected more than once during the seven processes were NFGNB. Although the pathogenicity of NFGNB is generally low for humans, such organisms have emerged as important opportunistic, and infectious pathogens that are often difficult to be managed because they are inherently resistant to various antimicrobial agents. Therefore, vegetables should be cooked and immediately consumed by compromised hosts and individuals receiving home health care.
The goal of this study is to investigate the effects of cheese intake on bone metabolism, focusing on 23 residents of an old folks′ home. Group A (n =11) and Group B (n =12) are divided by residence floor, and we conducted a crossover examination. The test diet was food with cheese in it (+200 mg of calcium/day), and the control diet was a normal lunch with calcium supplements (same amount) . Every 4 weeks (4w) they absorbed it, after which we established a 4w period of normal dietary intake. On the first day of each period, we measured bone density (in OSI values) and bone metabolism markers. The periods of the two groups absorbing the test diet were combined into the test diet group, the periods of them absorbing the control diet were combined into the control diet group, and we conducted a comparative study of variability rates before and after the intake periods. We also divided them into groups based on age, BMI, amount of caregivers and serum VD (1α, 25 (OH) 2) concentration, and conducted studies of each. There were no differences in OSI values or BAP variability rates for both the group before and after the intake period, and the group before and after the intake period that included the normal food absorption period. However, the NTx variability rate showed a significant drop. In addition, of those under 85 years of age with high BMI, less than 4 caregivers, and serum VD (1α, 25 (OH) 2) concentrations greater than 37. 5pg/dL, NTx dropped significantly in the test diet group when compared to the control diet group. Some effect of further cheese absorption on bone metabolism was conjectured.
We studied the effects of fish oil and wakame diets given to rats on the liver concentrations and fecal bile acid excretion. Young male rats were fed a diet containing the control, wakame, fish oil or fish oil + wakame for 4 weeks. The control diet contained a soybean oil. Fats of the testes around and epididymal fat pad weights decreased in the wakame group, fish oil group and fish oil + wakame group compared to the control group. It seemed that the effect was the highest in the fish oil + wakame group. The concentrations of the total cholesterol and triglyceride in the liver decreased in the wakame group, fish oil group and fish oil + wakame group compared to the control group. For the group fed with wakame, the concentration of liver lipids appeared to decrease. The bile acid excretion of feces was significantly increased in the fish oil + wakame group compared to the other groups. It was clarified that the bile acid excretion of feces increased by the fish oil + wakame diet rather than only wakame. These results suggested that the group fed the fish oil + wakame diet had a decreased fat accumulation, and increased fecal excretion of bile acids, which was expected to prevent metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.