Nutrition and metabolism: Edited by Paul Nestel and Ronald MensinkFunctional food science and food for specified health use policy in Japan: state of the artArai, Soichia; Yasuoka, Akihitob; Abe, Keikoc Author Information aDepartment of Nutritional Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan bDepartment of Biotechnology, Maebashi Institute of Technology, Gunma, Japan cDepartment of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan Correspondence to S. Arai, Department of Nutritional Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, 1-1-1 Sakuragaoka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8502, Japan Tel: +81 3 5815 7964; fax: +81 3 5815 7965; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Lipidology: February 2008 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 69-73 doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e3282f3f505 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review The science and policy of functional foods are a matter of global concern and this review provides up-to-date information about the Japanese ‘food for specified health use’ policy based on functional food science. Recent findings A great many studies on nonnutritive but physiologically functional food components have provided more precise evidence regarding the structure–function relationships that underlie the approval of food for specified health use products. Summary Functional foods, defined as those that have the potential to reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases and associated abnormal modalities, have garnered global interest since the 1980s when the systematic research had humble beginnings as a national project in Japan. In 1991, the project led to the launch of the national food for specified health use policy; 703 food for specified health use products with 11 categories of health claims have been approved up to the present (31 August 2007). The development of this policy has been supported basically by nutritional epidemiology, food chemistry and biochemistry, physiology and clinical medicine, and even the genomics on food and nutrition. This review also highlights the current academia–industry collaboration in Japan. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.