OVER the years, scientists and nutritionists in Japan have diligently researched and developed all kinds of 'health' foods for the increasingly health-conscious Japanese people.
But a problem arose - how are the Japanese people to distinguish the real McCoy, the genuine health food, from the so many food products in the market which are not.
The Japanese government had established in 1991 a regulatory framework called Foods for Specified Health Uses (Foshu).
No longer can any food product make unsubstantiated health claims.
The regulatory framework acts as a health food labelling system and only products certified by it can claim certain health benefits.
Any food product carrying the Foshu label defines it as food that carries "active constituents which affect the physiological function and biological activities of the body".
More importantly, a certified product has to be that if consumed as part of one's daily diet, can provide the specified health benefit that it claims.