South Korea Food & Regulation Recap: Q1

by Lorraine Li at ChemLinked

1. Packaging Materials Recyclability Grade Evaluation Standard| Jan. 7

On January 7, 2021, MOE (Ministry of Environment) revised Packaging Materials Recyclability Grade Evaluation Standards. The evaluation standards of glass bottles and PET bottles are modified. Situations of coating/coloring the glass bottles’ body and printing the labels directly on the glass bottle bodies are exempted from “difficult to recycle”. In addition, the PET bottles without labels or whose labels are on the bottle caps are upgraded as “best to recycle”. (Read More)

2. South Korea Launches Automatic Labeling System| Jan. 19

On January 19, 2021, MFDS introduced the automatic labeling system “Food Label Bot”. This system is designed to assist enterprises in producing the food labels efficiently. After inputting the essential information, the system will provide an example of the food label. This system can render food labels of 130 food categories. (Read More)

3. South Korea Consults on the GMO Food Labeling Standard| Jan. 28

On January 28, 2021, South Korea proposed a draft of the Labelling Standard of Genetically Modified Foods. MFDS proposed to approve “Non-GMO” labels on foods with less than 0.9% GMO materials. In addition, health functional foods and livestock products are exempted from labeling the “GMO” labels. (Read More)

4. Foods for Medical Purpose are Subject to Food Traceability Management| Feb. 3

On February 3, 2021, MFDS specified that certain imported FSP (Foods for Special Purpose) should comply with the food traceability requirement from December 12, 2021. The FSP foods subject to food traceability requirements are food for women during pregnancy or lactation, food for special medical purpose, and food for regulating weight, whose sales is over 100 million won (about 89.5 thousand USD) in 2016 respectively.

South Korea manages the traceability of FSP through a comprehensive phased approach. In 2014 and 2016, South Korea specified the food traceability requirements for food for newborns and infants and formula milk. (Read More)

5. South Korea Suspends the Food Importation from 36 Countries| Feb. 4

On February 4, 2021, MFDS issued a notification listing the foods prohibited from importation based on the rules specified in the Food Sanitation Act, including United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenian, Swiss, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan, Israel, Canada, United States of America, and Brazil. Check the suspended food categories and suggestions to deal with this situation to re-export goods to S. Korea atChemLinked News.

6. Food Labeling Standards| Feb. 5

On February 5, 2021, MFDS promulgated the latest version of Food Labeling Standards. The labeling item of “container/ package materials” on a sub-packaged or re-packaged food product is allowed to change in accordance with the materials used. The liquid tea product can be labeled as “decaffeinated products” with 90% caffeine being removed. (Read More)

7. South Korea Prolongs the Transitional Period of Food Label Modification | Feb. 18

On February 18, 2021, MFDS announced to prolong the implementation of the new standard of proportion and spacing of the font on food labels from March 14 to December 31, 2021. The standards of keeping the font proportion over 90% and front spacing less than 5% were released on March 14, 2019, and were given a transitional period of two years. (Read More)

8. South Korea to Conduct Contactless On-site Inspection of the Foreign Food Facility| Feb. 19

On February 19, 2021, MFDS plans to conduct a contactless on-site inspection of 460 Foreign Food Facilities in 36 overseas countries under the Covid-19 situation. The authority will inspect the overseas facilities via document review and the electronic device “smart glasses”. (Read More)

9. Food Additive Code| Mar. 9

On March 9, 2021, MFDS disclosed the latest version of Food Additive Code. It designated the benzoic acid of tiny amounts as a nature-derived additive and modified four additives’ usage standards. To prevent the overuse or misuse of sterilizing agents, South Korea also establishes the standards of using sterilizing agents on utensils in the new version. (Read More)

10. South Korea Consults on the GMO Food Standard| Mar. 11

On March 11, 2021, South Korea issued the draft of Safety Assessment Standard of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Food to solicit public opinions. For processed GMO products contain safety-ensured genetically modified agricultural or fishery ingredients, corresponding materials are proposed to be eliminated. Besides, the data of repeated oral dose toxicity test is to be required for the evaluation of GMO food safety. Stakeholders can send suggestions to MFDS prior to May 10, 2021. (Read More)

11. Health Functional Food Code| Mar. 25

On March 25, 2021, MFDS revealed the latest version of Health Functional Food. The competent authority permitted that individually-recognized functional ingredients can be used in Based Materials (원료성 제품). It also issued new substances for the functional ingredients, and adjusted the maximum intake of EPA and DHA Oil, etc. (Read More)

12. Food Code| Mar. 25

On March 25, 2021, MFDS announced the amendment to the Food Code. The new version modified several categories’ definitions and specifications to open more opportunities. Besides, five new food raw materials and the requirements of two pathogenic bacteria are added. The plant raw material categorization and food storage and distribution standard are optimized as well. (Read more)

13. South Korea to Intensify the Supervision on Imported Food| Mar. 25

MFDS released the draft of the Enforcement Rule of Imported Food Act on March 25, 2021. To ensure overseas factories comply with the local food law, MFDS would additionally request the applicants to submit a sanitation certificate of the Foreign Food Facility. Additionally, the sanitary certificate of the imported livestock products would be a compulsory document to submit. Suggestions can be sent to before May 4, 2021. (Read More)

14. South Korea to Amend the Food Additive Code| Mar. 25

MFDS issued the draft of Food Additive Code on March 25, 2021. The draft introduced a new category of spice, incorporating natural spices and artificial spices into the spice classification so as to keep aligned with the international standard. The draft also proposed 60 new raw materials for producing additives. The usage standard and test methods were to be modified as well. Suggestions can be sent to MFDS before May 24, 2021. (Read More)

15. South Korea Consults on Food Code| Mar. 30

On March 30, MFDS posted two drafts of the Food Code (No. 2021-133 and No. 2021-134). Draft No. 2021-133 mainly proposed the standard of fungal toxin (Aflatoxin M1) in goat milk should be under 0.50μg/kg. Draft No. 2021-134 mainly proposed to modify the general food standard to loosen the restrictions of food categorizing. Other modifications about new food types, distribution methods, and pesticide MRLs were brought out as well.

Suggestions about both drafts shall be sent to MFDS before May 31, 2021.

16. South Korea Consults on the On-site Inspection Method and Standard of Overseas OEM

On March 29, 2021, MFDS rolled out the draft of the On-Site Inspection Method and Standard of Imported Food from Overseas OEM. This standard is newly formulated to regulate the standard of foods manufacturing out of South Korea. It mainly clarified the sanitation standard, inspection standard, and inspection exemptions, etc. Stakeholders can send suggestions to MFDS before April 16. (Read More)


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