Beginning 1 June 2020, milk and dairy producers wishing to export their goods to Japan will need to verify not only the hygiene of the animal(s), but also the sanitation of the food itself. Exporting businesses can now do so by completing a revised health certificate agreed between Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Without this agreement, Swiss exporters may have seen their products denied access to the Japanese market.
In June 2018, the National Diet passed the first significant revision of the Food Sanitation Act in 15 years. In addition to requiring additional reporting requirements for dairy exports to Japan, other measures of this revision widely publicized in Japan were requiring all food businesses to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) as well as mandating them to report voluntary product recalls to the local authorities.
Since July 2019, the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan has been facilitating communication between relevant agencies of the two countries for Switzerland to implement the new Japanese reporting requirement. Upon agreeing to the language of the health certificate, FSVO has directed cantonal authorities to issue new health certificates when approving relevant goods for Japan-bound exports. These certificates are effective in Switzerland as of 18 May 2020.
In 2019, Switzerland exported agricultural goods, including dairy items, worth almost 340 million CHF in value, according to latest figures by the country’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).