Japan sees growing demand for FSSC 22000 certification

20 February 2014 TOKYO -- Leading Japanese food manufacturers are moving  to obtain an international certification in food safety at their processing facilities, hungry for an edge in winning contracts from global retailers and restaurant chains. Condiment maker Kewpie plans to have all 90 or so of its domestic production facilities and five of its overseas sites certified under the Food Safety System Certification 22000 regime by November 2015.

FSSC 22000 was developed by a Dutch organization and is supported by the Global Food Safety Initiative of the Consumer Goods Forum, which counts U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart and Japan's Aeon among its members. Kewpie has already obtained the certification at six domestic facilities and three sites in such foreign countries as Thailand and Malaysia.

Major global retailers and restaurant operators are increasingly asking food makers for FSSC 22000 certification at production facilities. Kewpie will step up efforts in this area to gain an advantage as it works to lift overseas sales from 4.5% of the total in the year ended November to 10% by fiscal 2019. Meiji Holdings plans to have all 10 of its domestic plants certified by the end of fiscal 2014. The confection maker has gotten three certified so far. Necessary repairs to aging facilities and administrative expenses will total more than 200 million yen ($1.94 million).

The Coca-Cola group obtained certification at all its Japanese facilities in 2011, prompting peers to follow suit.

The trend is spreading to alcoholic beverages, too. Suntory Liquors, a unit of Suntory Holdings, obtained certification at four facilities in Japan last year. It will get three beer breweries certified going forward. FSSC 22000 assesses hygiene and preventive measures to keep foreign objects out of production processes, among other things. After pesticide got mixed into frozen foods of a Maruha Nichiro Holdings unit late last year, food makers' interest in the certification will likely grow, says an official at an organization handling the certification screening in Japan.

Source: Nikkei Report, Thu, 20 Feb 2014