Almond and walnut come under the Japanese allergen labelling spotlight

Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency has added almonds to the list of allergenic foods that it recommends be listed on food labels if present, and walnut has been designated as a food subject to mandatory labelling.

The changes come following the results of a 2018 national survey into food allergies. This is a periodic survey performed approximately every three years. The labelling amendment is in response to the increasing number of allergy cases for walnut and almond at the time of the most recent survey, compared with the surveys carried out in 2015 and 2012.

Japan currently has seven specific foods requiring mandatory labelling, and 20 that are recommended to be labelled. According to supplementary information regarding the proposed amendments, almond is likely to be added to the list of ‘recommended allergen labelling’ within months, while it may be more than two years before allergen labelling for walnut becomes mandatory. Walnuts are already on the list for recommended allergen labelling, being the only tree nut mentioned out of the 27 allergenic foods.

More information about the proposed changes and the background to these requirements can be found in English on the Label Bank website.