Frequent Asked Questions

Q: What is Tamari? What is the difference between Tamari and regular soy sauce?

A:

Tamari is a premium Japanese soy sauce. 

The major difference between Tamari and regular soy sauce is the proportion of ingredients between soybeans and wheat. While regular soy sauce contains 40-60% wheat, San-J Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce is made with 100% soybeans and no wheat. While the sodium level of San-J Tamari and regular soy sauce is the same, the higher concentration of soybeans in San-J Tamari gives a richer, smoother, more complex taste than ordinary soy sauce.

Q: How is San-J Tamari brewed?

A:

San-J Tamari is brewed and aged for up to six months using Japanese brewing methods handed down through eight generations.

Q: Is San-J soy sauce fermented?

A:

Yes. San-J Tamari and Shoyu are fermented for up to six months. Only San-J’s fermentation process can create its rich, complex taste.

Q: Is San-J soy sauce pasteurized?

A:

All San-J Tamari and Shoyu soy sauces are pasteurized. We do so to stop the fermentation process from continuing inside of each bottle of Tamari or Shoyu - otherwise, it could lead to off-flavors and harsh aromas and also create gases. We use the pasteurization method to maintain the best quality of our sauce as long as possible.

Q: Are any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors added to San-J products?

A:

No. No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors are added to San-J products.

Q: Are San-J products vegetarian?

A:

All San-J products, excluding White Miso Soup are vegetarian.

Q: Are San-J products vegan?

A:

All San-J Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce, Shoyu, Wakame Soup, Tamari Crackers, Tamari Brown Sesame Crackers, Tamari Black Sesame Crackers are certified vegan.

Q: Does San-J Tamari contain MSG?

A:

We do not add MSG, but there could be some naturally occurring during the fermentation.

During fermentation, the protein in the soybeans is broken down to polypeptide chains and amino acids. The main amino acid we obtain is glutamic acid. Since the soybeans are fermented in a high salt brine solution, there could be some interaction of glutamic acid with sodium, creating some naturally occurring MSG (monosodium glutamate). Naturally occurring MSG can be found in many natural foods that have a rich flavor, such as cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Q: Are any San-J products certified Organic?

A:

Yes. San-J Organic Gluten Free Tamari (Gold Label), Organic Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Tamari (Platinum Label) and Organic Shoyu (Bronze Label) are certified organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI) and USDA Organic.

Q: Are San-J products kosher?

A:

San-J Tamari, Shoyu, Gluten Free Asian Cooking Sauce and Salad Dressing products are all certified kosher by Orthodox Union.

Q: Do your products contain GMOs?

A:

San-J participates in the Non-GMO Project. The following products have been verified by the Non-GMO project. (www.nongmoproject.org)

  • Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Black Label)
  • Tamari Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce (White Label)
  • Tamari Lite 50% Less Sodium Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Green Label)
  • Organic Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Gold Label)
  • Organic Tamari Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce (Platinum Label)
  • Organic Shoyu
  • Thai Peanut Sauce*
  • Szechuan Sauce*
  • Teriyaki Sauce*
  • Sweet & Tangy Sauce*
  • Asian BBQ Sauce*
  • Orange Sauce*
  • Mongolian Sauce

We only use non-GMO soybeans and non-GMO canola oil in our products. Our products that are currently not verified as Non-GMO contain some ingredients that we are unable to guarantee that they are GMO free. That is due to the fact that suppliers cannot guarantee us that there is no GMO contamination of their ingredients. We are currently looking into each ingredient of each product in order to make it GMO free and also retain the flavor that our customers have loved for many years.

*Look for a Non-GMO Project seal on the label.

Q: What type of alcohol is used in San-J Tamari?

A:

The alcohol used in San-J Tamari is a food grade alcohol derived from sugarcane. 

Q: Do you add alcohol?

A:

There may be some alcohol that is naturally occurring in our Tamari and we also add a very  small amount of alcohol derived from sugarcane as a natural preservative.  

Q: What type of salt is used in San-J products?

A:

The salt used in San-J products is obtained from underground salt deposits through deep well solution mining. There is no iodine, free flowing conditioners, or other additives added to the salt.

Q: Where do you get your soybeans from?

A:

The soybeans San-J is using is from the US or Canada. However, due to supply and demand, the source of the soy may change over time. We will keep trying to use soybeans from United States or Canada whenever available but due to sourcing issues such as drought, soybeans from other countries may be used. Any soybeans used by San-J must meet our quality standards. These include testing for GMOs, heavy metals, protein content, size, moisture, as well as other testing. Documentation regarding the organic and non-gmo status of the soybeans must be obtained, and approved by our organic certifier and our non-gmo verifier.

Q: Do you use any ingredients from Japan?  Do you test for radiation?

A:

Everything we receive from Japan is tested for radiation prior to accepting it for use at San-J. For Tamari and Shoyu soy sauces brewed in our Virginia, USA facility, the ingredients for fermentation microorganism (Koji mold and bacterial culture) are from Japan. San-J brews Tamari and Shoyu soy sauces in the United States. However, we mix it with Tamari or Shoyu made in Japan when necessary for Tamari (Black label), Reduced Sodium Tamari (White label), Tamari Lite 50% Less Sodium and Shoyu. 

Q: What steps does San-J take for products that contain common allergens?

A:

To prevent cross-contamination, we have specific cleaning procedures that are followed and documented at San-J facility in Virginia, USA. After the cleaning process has been completed, rinse water samples are brought to the lab. These are tested for gluten, peanuts, mustard, and sesame, to ensure the line has been cleaned appropriately. The procedure is to re-do the cleaning if the results are positive and then re-test. In addition, pre-operational and end of the day inspections are conducted. Employees conducting these inspections are trained to look for any possible allergen contamination. We do not use tree nuts or eggs in the San-J facility in Virginia. 

San-J Salad Dressings, Brown Rice Crackers, and Instant Soups are manufactured at different facilities. All San-J products are made to meet standards of San-J quality as well as the requirements for each certification.

Q: Do you process products containing peanuts?

A:

Yes. The following products contain peanuts:

  • Thai Peanut Sauce
  • Tamari Peanut Dressing

Q: What is the shelf life of San-J sauces and salad dressings?

A:

San-J Tamari/Shoyu products (5 oz., 10 oz., 20 oz.) - 2 years unopened.

San-J Asian Cooking Sauces (10 oz.) - 1 year unopened.

San-J Salad Dressings (8 oz.) - 1 year unopened.

Soups Cups – 15 months

Soups Envelopes – 1 year from the date of manufacture

Crackers – 13 months from the date of manufacture.

Portion Packs – 1 year from the filling date

Travel Packs – portion pack lot code – 1 year from filling date

Q: Do you process products containing mustard?

A:

Yes. The following products contain mustard:

  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Szechuan Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sesame Brown Rice Crackers

Q: Do they need to be refrigerated? How should I store San-J products?

A:

Sauce & Dressing products: Refrigerate after opening for best quality. Once opened, it is best to use within 1 month for table use and within 3 months for cooking use. Storage - Protect from temperatures below freezing and high heat (for long periods of time). Do not store in direct light.

Soups/Crackers – Store at ambient temperatures. Protect from moisture and high heat.

Q: Do you process products containing sesame?

A:

Yes.  The following products contain sesame:

  • Szechuan Sauce
  • Asian BBQ Sauce
  • Tamari Sesame Dressing

Q: How long can a product last once it’s been opened?

A:

San-J can only guarantee the shelf life of a product if it’s unopened. We recommend refrigerating after opening to preserve the quality of the product.

Q: Are your products dairy-free?

A:

The following product contains milk: Tamari Peanut Dressing

Q: Does Tamari contain yeast?

A:

All Tamari soy sauces are yeast free.  However, Shoyu soy sauce contains yeast.

Q: What is gluten?

A:

Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. The consumption of gluten in these products adversely affects the health of those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Q: What is celiac disease?

A:

Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that is triggered by eating gluten. When gluten containing foods are consumed, damage occurs to the lining of the small intestine, making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. It is estimated that around 3 million or 1 out of every 133 people in the United States have celiac disease. There is no cure for celiac disease, but the condition can be managed with diet by removing all gluten containing foods.

Q: Who follows gluten free diets and what are the benefits?

A:

For people with celiac disease, the only way to manage the condition is to follow a gluten-free diet. Through adherence to a gluten-free diet, the small intestine will begin to heal and the overall health of the affected individual should improve.

Gluten-free diets may also be followed by those who feel their overall health improves when avoiding gluten laden foods.

Q: How do San-J products fit into a gluten free diet?

A:

Since most ordinary soy sauces contain around 50% wheat, they are typically off-limits for those following a gluten free diet. However, San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce is naturally gluten free because it is made with 100% soybeans and no wheat, giving it a rich, smooth taste and making it ideal for those following a gluten free diet. San-J is the only manufacturer that produces certified gluten-free Tamari in the United States. All San-J gluten-free products are also certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.

Q: Are San-J gluten free products certified gluten free?

A:

Yes. All San-J Gluten Free products are made in a plant inspected and certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Look for GF symbol on San-J gluten free products. For more information on this group, please visit their website at www.gfco.org.

Q: Which San-J products are certified gluten free?

A:

The following San-J products are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization:

Tamari Soy Sauce:

  • Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Black Label)
  • Tamari Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce (White Label)
  • Tamari Lite 50% Less Sodium Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Green Label)
  • Organic Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Gold Label)
  • Organic Tamari Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce (Platinum Label)

Asian Cooking Sauces:

  • Thai Peanut /Szechuan /Teriyaki / Sweet & Tangy / Asian BBQ / Orange Sauce / Mongolian

Asian Salad Dressings:

  • Tamari Sesame / Tamari Peanut / Tamari Ginger

Brown Rice Crackers:

  • Tamari Plain/ Tamari Black Sesame / Tamari Brown Sesame / Teriyaki Sesame

Japanese Instant Soups:

  • White Miso / Wakame

Q: What steps does San-J take for gluten free products?

A:

San-J does not add any gluten ingredients to San-J gluten free products. We understand the sensitive nature that exists for those who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease. Since our facilities processes other products containing wheat, San-J has implemented specific sanitation methods in an effort to prevent cross contamination of wheat in our gluten free products. In addition, we test each batch of gluten free products for the presence of gluten. Samples are also periodically sent to an outside laboratory as means of confirming the reliability of our tests.
The FDA regulation sets a threshold for gluten of less than 20 parts per million in foods that are labeled "gluten-free," “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten.” San-J gluten free products are certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization and we follow their guidelines of less than 10 ppm. All San-J Tamari Soy Sauces are tested at less than 5ppm.

Q: Where is the lot code/how do I read it?

A:

San-J prints a Best Before Date on its products. The code is read MONTH, DAY, YEAR. For example, JAN0115 means the product is best before January 1, 2015. This code refers to unopened product.
The Best Before Date can be found in the following locations:

Tamari/Shoyu & Asian Cooking Sauces: Printed in ink on the neck of the bottle.

Salad Dressings: Printed in ink on the top of the lid

White Miso & Wakame Soups: Imprinted on the front of the package in the lower right hand corner

Brown Rice Crackers: Printed on the bottom of the package

Portion Packs: Printed on the case

Travel Packs: Sticker on the bottom of the box

Q: Where is your Tamari / Shoyu made?

A:

San-J brews Tamari and Shoyu soy sauces in the USA. We blend it with Tamari and Shoyu made in Japan when necessary for Tamari (Black label), Reduced Sodium Tamari (White label), Tamari Lite 50% Less Sodium and Organic Shoyu. Everything we receive from Japan is tested for radiation prior to accepting it for use at San-J.