(Provisional Translation)

6th Report of Market Access Ombudsman Council (March 16, 2000)

1-(4) Permitting use of imazalil

1. Complainant: New Zealand Embassy

2. Ministry concerned: Ministry of Health and Welfare

3. Complaint:

Based on 'Standards and Specification on Foods, Additives etc', imazalil should not be used for foods except citrus fruit (except mikan) and banana. The maximum residue level of imazalil for citrus (except mikan) is 0.005 g per 1 kg, and 0.002 g per 1 kg for banana.
Imazalil is permitted to use for citrus fruits but not for mikan, which appears to be an unjustifiable and arbitrary distinction. We request MHW to permit the use of imazalil at the same residue level for mikan as for other citrus fruits.
According to the MHW, if this were allowed, daily intake of imazalil could exceed the Codex acceptable daily intake (ADI). Based on the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures (Article 2.2), we ask MHW to provide scientific data to support its position that our request will result in the ADI for imazalil being exceeded.

4. Corresponding Policy of the Ministries concerned:

The usage standards for food additives would have to be changed to allow post-harvest use of imazalil on mandarin oranges. However, Japanese consume a larger quantity of mandarin oranges compared to people in other countries, and if the current usage standards were expanded and the allowable residual level of imazalil for mandarin oranges were set at 5ppm, in accordance with the Codex Committee standards, it is clear that the ADI would be exceeded when the maximum theoretical daily intake is estimated. Amending the usage standards in this way is neither advisable, in terms of ensuring the safety of the public's daily diet, nor appropriate in scientific terms.
Accordingly, usage standards for imazalil cannot be amended at this point.

5. Remarks
The ministry explained the scientific basis for its measures to the complainant. The complainant is currently considering how to respond.