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°»Food for Specified Health Use°… system : Submission of a written request to the MHLW and Consumer Agency urging the abolishment of the °»Food for Specified Health Use°… system

2010-03-23

On March 23rd, we submitted a written request to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Consumer Agency, stating that °»Food for Specified Health Use°… known as
°»Tokuho°… in Japanese, should be abolished.

The Tokuho system started in Japan in 1991. Under the system, companies are required to getMHLW approval in order to sell Tokuho products. After approval has been obtained, Tokuho can be described as providing "health benefits" even though it is just food.
Currently, total Tokuho sales have reached 60 billion yen, and advertisements claiming health benefits are increasing further.

However, compared to medicine, evidence of advancing health and safety, which is required in order to sell Tokuho products, is very poor and of a low level, as is the system concerning the submission of such evidence. There is also no post-marketing safety check in place.
Nevertheless, health benefits are still being stressed, and this obviously misleads consumers.

Consumers expect to see effects and may rely heavily on the sense of security that comes from the fact that Tokuho products are simply food.
If a manufactured food has certain medicinal value, it should be regulated as a drug under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.

The Tokuho system makes an unclear distinction between drugs and food, and totally contradicts with regulations under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.Therefore, it should be abolished.