Functional food science in Japan:
state of the art

Arai S.
Department of Nutritional Scieince,
Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan.
Biofactors. 2000;12(1-4):13-6


In 1984, a new science related to functional food was initiated by a National Project team under the auspices of the Japan Ministry of Education and Science. It was followed by a great many academic and industrial studies to occupy a central position in the field of food and nutritional sciences. In 1993, the Ministry of Health and Welfare established a policy of "Foods for Specified Health Uses" (FOSHU) by which health claims of some selected functional foods are legally permitted. Up to now (November 22. 1999), 167 FOSHU products have been born. Since the time (1984) when the concept of functional food" was proposed, it seems that the science in Japan has been progressing along, among others, a unique path of development. The uniqueness is seen in the development of functional foods by minimizing undesirable as well as maximizing desirable food factors. Hypoallergenic foods, developed from their materials by removing allergens, offer a good example. Another characteristic may be found in the field of sensory science which aims at elucidating a molecular logic of the senses of taste and smell in reference to their effects on physiological systems in the body. The paper discusses some characteristics of functional food science in Japan, with special emphasis on these topics.
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Vitamins and mood
Docosahexaenoic acid
Japanese functional food

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