Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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Codex and Soy Sauce
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·A few years ago, Japan proposed that only naturally brewed products be allowed to use the term "soy sauce" in international trade. Products that use the hydrolyzed vegetable protein method should bear the words "non-brewed" or "short-term brewed". Traditional manufacturers should be allowed to label their product "brewed". The idea got support
from South Korea, whose Codex delegate is helping Japan write the new rules. And it also gained popular support from Japanese consumer groups, like Japan Offspring Fund. We don't want to call fake soy sauce with a same name! Leaders of Slow Food, a 60,000-member international organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional food products and methods, also say it's about consumer rights.

<Limbo in soy sauce discussion (Oct. 26, 2004)>

At the October, 2004 Codex meeting of the CCPFV (processed fruits and vegetables) committee, it was decided to move the discussion about soy sauce to CCCPL (cereals, pulses and legumes). The discussions have been going on since 1998. Food industry sources call the result a "limbo", the Latin word for "in between" or "left hanging".

Bruce Silverglade, who represented consumers at the meeting, said the global trading system "is being used to dumb down consumer protection on behalf of a variety of products. It's a shame to push our inferior [American] junk foods onto the rest of the world." He was also quoted by Food Chemical News, saying "consumers are going to lose respect for Codex and the WTO if this is how issues are handled."

But who is telling the U.S. government what to say? Essentially, the U.S. position was to allow hydrolyzed vegetable protein as a main ingredient for soy sauce, even if such products do not include soy. In addition, such products are usually not brewed properly. In our opinion, it is false to call such products "soy" sauce. Such sauces could be called "Hydrolyzed Protein Sauce", not "Soy Sauce". ConAgra, a large U.S. company, makes such sauces which are also sold abroad under fanciful labels. However, in Japan, there is already legislation that gives consumers labelling for properly brewed soy sauce. While other countries could benefit from a Codex standard for soy sauce, Japanese consumers would not accept the international standard that the U.S. government proposes.

Most opposition to the Japanese and Korean proposal came from the so-called International Hydrolyzed Protein Council (IHPC). This group does not even have a website. We doubt that they really are "international" and who do they actually represent? We wonder why Codex is listening to the loud voice of such one-sided American industry groups. When we search for IHPC on the Internet, they really only appear to be a supporter of MSG (mono sodium glutamate) and their spokesman, Mr Hahn, is in fact a partner at law firm called Hogan and Hartson in Washington D.C. Mr. Hahn is the "executive director" at IHPC, but the address is the same for both IHPC and Hogan and Hartson. We strongly resent that such fake industry front groups are allowed to speak at Codex meetings!

<Newspaper Articles>

·Feud Ferments Between Soy Sauce Makers(Sept. 21, 2004)
·Soy sauce (San Francisco Chronicle) (Aug. 25, 2002)


The Agenda of the September 2004 Codex meeting about Soy Sauce can be found here:

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