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South Korea Formulates Standards for Prohibited Food Labeling and Advertising

  •   6 Nov 2019
  •    Lennie Tao
  •   188  Views
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    Takehome:

    • Enterprises shall avoid using prohibited food labeling and advertising claims, or business licenses and registrations may be revoked.

    As revealed by MFDS Notice 2019-96 [1], further rules about prohibited food labeling and advertising have been stipulated to support the promulgation of Korean Food Labeling and Advertising Act [2] and Implementation Rules of Korean Food Labeling and Advertising Act [3]. The new regulation came into force on October 29th, 2019.

    Prohibited Labeling & Advertising

    • Labeling or advertising that misleads consumers to perceive food as medicines
    • Labeling or advertising that misleads consumers to perceive ordinary food as health functional food
    • Fraudulent labeling or advertising
    1. Negative content claims on ingredients that are already prohibited by government.
    2. Negative content claims like “Does not contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals”. Claims like this are too general and unclear.
    3. Negative content claims like “does not contain a certain ingredient”, but the final product actually contains that ingredient.
    4. Overstate the absence of a certain nutrient, such as “do not contain Nutrient A”, which will cause misunderstanding. E.g. some consumers may miss the word “not”.
    5. Claim “non-sugar” or “Sugar-free” in a noncompliant way. Only the situations listed in Appendix 1 of Food Labeling Standard [4] can be labeled as “non-sugar” or “sugar-free”.
    6. Claims like “this product conform to relevant regulation and standards for harmful substances”. e.g. “this green tea product is compliant with pesticide standards”. (claims like this will mislead consumers to believe other products are noncompliant)
    7. It is prohibited to use a picture of an existing naturally derived ingredient to describe the flavor or taste of a synthetic ingredient. E.g. chemically flavored orange drink products cannot use a picture of an orange.
    8. To claim “100% of a certain substance”, while the final product actually contains other substances
    9. To OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products, it can only claim information related to the consigner.
    10. Claims that will mislead consumers and make them believe this product is better than other products with subjective, unscientific and unclear terms, such as “super food”.
    11. It’s prohibited to claim “Non-GMO or GMO-free products” of all food categories. Only GMO foods can label itself as “GMO food”.
    12. It’s prohibited to claim colorless beverage as “xx water”, which will make consumers mistake it as drinking water.
    13. Non-compliant food classification
    *Point 2), 3), 6), 9) and 10) will take effect on March 14, 2021.
    • Use of slander in advertising or undermining competitors’ products
    • Labeling or advertising that seriously disturbs public order or negatively impacts social order.

    Penalty

    Law basis: Article 20 of Korean Food Labeling and Advertising Act

    Violators will be subject to the following punishments:

    1. their business licenses shall be suspended for more than two months, or
    2. their business licenses or registration shall be revoked, or
    3. the place of business shall be closed or
    4. they shall face a fine

    Reference Link

    [1] MFDS Notice 2019-96
    [2] Korean Food Labeling and Advertising Act
    [3] Implementation Rules of Korean Food Labeling and Advertising Act
    [4] Food Labeling Standard
     

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    ChemLinked Editor

    Lennie has broad experience in the food sector, especially in dairy products and health food.

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