SocialResponsibility to Customers

Policy on Initiatives for Food Safety and Reliability

In the Food Business, the Marubeni Group supplies a wide range of products to meet the increasingly diverse needs of the times. In a number of our businesses, through our ownership of manufacturing and processing facilities, we have built an extensive value chain stretching from raw material procurement to delivery of products and services to consumers. In this way, we are contributing to food safety and reliability, while addressing nutrition issues by providing food products with outstanding functionality.

Compliance System for Ensuring Safety and Reliability of Processed Food Products and Beverages

Marubeni strives to keep up with industry trends, including through membership of the Association for the Safety of Imported Food, Japan and the Japan Food Hygiene Association. At the same time, to improve our technology, we have been working in partnership with an external specialist organization since 2004, accumulating expertise on food safety and hygiene management. In particular, to ensure the safety of imported agricultural, livestock, and marine produce, as well as processed food products, we gather information and check safety ourselves. Furthermore, depending on product characteristics and risks, we may have external specialists perform plant inspections of local suppliers.
If a food safety-related incident does occur, we have systems in place to implement immediate response measures in communication with relevant government agencies and suppliers. These initiatives help to build awareness of food safety among overseas suppliers, leading to the improvement of safety measures throughout our supply chain.

System to Control Supplier Risks

Marubeni considers “protection of consumer health” and “ensuring the safety and reliability of foods” as its highest priorities in the food business. To this end, we utilize our unique supplier management form, the “Supplier Checklist,” to mitigate risks, as part of our efforts to ensure food safety and control our food supply chain. Specifically, we identify risks of suppliers meeting certain conditions from the standpoint of related laws and food safety, failure to deliver, human rights violations, the environment, and other factors.

Number of Supplier Checklists submitted

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
41 29 21 49

Food Plant Inspections by External Specialist Organizations

When importing various foods and grains from around the world, Marubeni requires a certain level of quality and hygiene control from the supplier food plants. To commence transactions, we will dispatch inspectors from an external specialist organization, which has been commissioned, to the food plant to carry out inspections comprising numerous checkpoints relating to quality, hygiene control, and other factors. The system has been designed so that if the plant does not meet the acceptability criteria, transactions cannot commence until improvements are made based on the inspection findings and the criteria are met through repeated inspections.
Even after the commencement of transactions, we focus on food safety, by conducting regular inspections once every two to three years, in addition to carrying out inspections when changes are made to manufacturing lines or manufacturing methods, or when complaints exceeding a certain level are received.

Number of inspections of food plants

  FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Domestic plants 25 32 27 16
Overseas plants 11 17 16 16
Total 36 49 43 32

Managing the Risk of Residual Pesticide in Agricultural Produce and the Traceability Management System

Measures to reduce the risk of residual pesticide used in agricultural produce is one of Marubeni’s priority issues. To ensure that residual pesticide in imported agricultural produce does not exceed the residual pesticide standards set in the Food Sanitation Act, an inquiry is conducted and internal approval is obtained prior to the commencement of transactions.
In the inquiry, we use the “Agricultural Produce Traceability Sheet” to identify the farmer and the pesticides and conduct onsite surveys of the surrounding farmland (to monitor the crops being cultivated and the pesticides being used), as well as carry out general inspections through a sampling of residual pesticide, etc. And transactions will commence only after the results of this inquiry are verified by a pesticide expert commissioned by Marubeni and confirmation is given that the risk of residual pesticide is low.

Number of Agricultural Produce Traceability Sheets submitted

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
32 11 6 13

Training to Ensure Food Safety and Reliability

To ensure that employees receive appropriate training and that relevant information is shared, the Food Division holds internal Group training for all newly assigned employees twice annually, and quarterly Group compliance liaison meetings with Group companies. We also hold seminars twice annually on selected topics and issues related to food safety, such as ensuring the safety of food product imports. In December 2019, we invited an external expert to hold a seminar on the revised Food Sanitation Act in Japan. Group companies and suppliers were invited to participate in the seminar as part of our efforts to raise awareness of food safety.

Participation in Food Safety Initiatives and Associations, etc.

Marubeni aims to provide safe, reliable food products and ingredients, and to maintain and improve quality management functions. To achieve this, Marubeni Group companies participate in the activities of the following external organizations with the goals of gathering information and exchanging opinions.

Japan Food Additives Association

The Japan Food Additives Association (JAFA) is comprised of companies and organizations that are involved in the production, import, sale and use of food additives in Japan. The association is a successor to the Federation of Japan Food Additives Groups, etablished as a nationwide organization in October 1982 with the addition of new members.
JAFA works under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and other related government agencies with the objectives of providing members with accurate knowledge pertaining to the production, sale, and use of food additives, and promoting consumer understanding of safety and utility. In addition, JAFA seeks to contribute to the sound development of food-related industries, and to better consumer dietary habits and public hygiene.
The Marubeni Group gathers information about the safety and functionality of food additives from JAFA, and conducts its businesses appropriately, receiving advice on matters such as labeling for food additives and interpretations of the relevant laws.

Japan Food Additives Association

All Japan Coffee Fair Trade Conference

The All Japan Coffee Fair Trade Conference formulated the Fair Competition Code for Labeling of Regular Coffee and Instant Coffee Products, designed to aid consumers in the purchase of regular coffee and instant coffee products. The code was recognized by the Japan Fair Trade Commission on November 13, 1991, and a notification was published in the Kanpo (the official gazette of the Japanese Government) on November 27, with full enforcement starting from May 28, 1993.
On November 29, 1991, the conference was inaugurated as a discretionary body with membership consisting of coffee-related business operators who agree with the objectives of the conference. It is dedicated to ensuring the fair labeling of coffee products.
The Marubeni Group receives advice regarding coffee labeling and related matters from the All Japan Coffee Fair Trade Conference.

All Japan Coffee Fair Trade Conference (Japanese only)

Japan Soft Drink Association

The Japan Soft Drink Association is an industry organization that prioritizes shared benefit and public good. The association aims to ensure rigorous compliance with laws and regulations among soft drink manufacturers, sellers, and related businesses, and facilitates smooth coordination of activities between association members and the government. It also promotes, supports, and provides guidance on corporate social responsibility, encourages healthy consumption of soft drinks, and spreads awareness and knowledge relating to soft drinks.
Through the Japan Soft Drink Association, the Marubeni Group receives advice on matters such as beverage labeling and quality management.

Japan Soft Drink Association

Society of Soft Drink Technologists, Japan

The Society of Soft Drink Technologists, Japan was launched in 1992 with the objective of providing a forum for soft drink technologists and researchers to meet and exchange information, while furthering technological innovation and skill development. The society works to provide technical support so that the soft drink industry can continue to develop in harmony with the public interest.
Through the Society of Soft Drink Technologists, the Marubeni Group receives advice on matters such as beverage labeling and quality management.

Society of Soft Drink Technologists, Japan (Japanese only)

Initiatives for functional ingredients

As an example of our initiatives on food safety and reliability, at Group company Toyo Sugar Refining Co., Ltd . we produce and sell various types of sugar, as well as functional ingredients such as Rutin and Hesperidin that can be used in food products, beverages, supplements, and cosmetics.
We will proceed to develop new products, making full use of our proprietary enzyme processing technologies and accumulated expertise, while addressing nutrition issues through the sale of these functional ingredients.

Overview of Rutin
Overview of Hesperidin

Cooperation with Business Partners to Recycle Food Waste and Reduce Resource Usage

With the aim of realizing a recycling-based society, the Marubeni Group is promoting recycling of food waste and reduction of resource usage through cooperation with its business partners (waste generators, processors, consumers, etc.). We continuously supply recycled feedstuff made from the inedible parts of marine/livestock products and food production by-products to formula feed manufacturers. Additionally, products made from livestock and fish fed with formula feed are sold to general consumers through Marubeni Group sales channels. Through these efforts, Marubeni realizes a recycling loop. We also collect waste edible oil from business activities such as supermarkets and convenience stores. Purified oil and fat made with this oil are supplied to chemical manufacturers as raw material for resin, paint, soap, etc.