Japanese govt plans certification system for game meat

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - The government is planning to introduce a certification system for well-handled domestic game meats as early as this summer. The move is aimed at easing consumer concerns about quality and safety and encouraging consumption of the meats.

  Under the plan, retailers will be able to sell wild animal meat products such as deer and boar that come with a national certification logo. Products originally shipped from processing facilities that meet certain criteria, including hygiene management, will be able to carry the logo. 

 In Japan, wild meats are commonly known as “gibier,” a French word for game. 

 The number of wild birds and animals being captured has gradually increased in recent years, mainly to protect farm products, according to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and others. 

 About 620,000 deer and 550,000 boar were caught in fiscal 2015, but only about 10 percent of them were consumed as meat. The rest were mostly thrown away.

 Gibier is considered low in fat and rich in minerals such as iron, yet its consumption has not increased. This is partly due to deep-seated consumer concerns about hygiene and other issues. The ministry decided to introduce the new certification system in a bid to alleviate those concerns.

 The government has set a goal of doubling the current level of gibier consumption in fiscal 2019.

 The new system includes about 80 criteria, including records on such information as where and when an animal was caught; the types of gloves and knives used for slaughter; disinfection methods; and refrigeration and storage temperatures.

 In a bid to encourage production of local specialty gibier products, processed foods containing certified meats will also be able to carry the certification logo.

 Gibier certification systems have already been introduced by local governments such as Hokkaido and Nagano prefectures, but this will be the first time for the central government to establish nationally unified criteria.


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