Jelly Mini-Cups Containing Konjac: Is a Warning Enough to Protect Vulnerable Consumers?
18 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 4, 2013
In 2010, a decision of the Kobe District Court, later upheld by the Osaka High Court, involving jelly mini-cups containing konjac found the manufacturer was not liable under the laws of product liability and negligence. This article examines how the US, the EU and Australia have responded to similar choking incidents by restricting the importation, production and use of food products containing konjac. This article also discusses the effectiveness of different types of regulations intended to prevent serious injury and death caused by food products. The author argues that a warning printed on the packaging of a food product like mouthful-sized jelly mini-cups containing konjac is not adequate to protect vulnerable consumers such as young children and the elderly, especially if the design of the product can be changed to reduce the risk of harmful consequences. As comparative studies show, public regulations are an important part of an effective product safety system. The article concludes that the Japanese product safety regime should be strengthened to protect vulnerable persons against injury from food and other harmful products.
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation