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Updated| South Korea Revises Enforcement Rule of Imported Food Act

MFDS promulgated the Enforcement Rule of Imported Food Act, intensifying the imported food safety control and detailing the HACCP requirements.

*Reminder on October 31, 2023

The grace period for "enterprises exporting 1,000 to 5,000 ton kimchi to South Korea in 2021" ends on October 1, 2023. Relevant enterprises should prepare for the HACCP accreditation. 

Note, that HACCP certificates can be issued online after June this year. Details are here. 

On June 30, 2021, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) promulgated the revised Enforcement Rule of Imported Food Act1. The regulation intensifies the imported food safety control and details the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements.

1. Enhanced Imported Food Safety Control

(1) New Submission Document for Foreign Food Facility Registration 

To ensure overseas factories comply with the local food law, MFDS newly requested the applicants to submit either of the following two documents when applying for the Foreign Food Facility (FFF) registration:

a. Documents attesting authorization, registration or declaration of a foreign food facility according to relevant laws and regulations of the exporting country.

b. A confirmation form of registered information of a foreign food facility.

(2) Mandatory Requirement of Imported Livestock Products

Previously, the sanitary certificate of the imported livestock products was a voluntary submission document if the exporting country had signed a separate sanitary contract with the South Korea government. Nevertheless, the new regulation illuminates that after January 1, 2022, all imported livestock products should submit sanitary certificates mandatorily. By amending the provisions, the authority committed to intensifying the food safety management of imported livestock products.

2. HACCP Accreditation

In accordance with the Imported Food Act2, MFDS can request the overseas facility to comply with the HACCP criteria3 when the imported products are at risk of mixing with hazardous materials.

In this regulation, the authority designated the overseas facilities manufacturing kimchi (김치, a traditional Korean dish made by salted cabbages with a mixture of seasoning) as the first batch of FFF subject to HACCP. Therefore, all overseas facilities exporting Kimchi to South Korea should finish a HACCP accreditation.

ChemLinked Notes

The HACCP is a mandatory accreditation for local Korean factories producing livestock foods, health functional foods, etc. Although this regulation only specified kimchi FFF to comply with HACCP, HACCP is expected to be applicable to more overseas facilities eventually. ChemLinked recommends enterprises pay attention to the HACCP-related regulatory news updates.

Besides, other FFFs can apply for the HACCP accreditation if they comply with the HACCP criteria3. The enterprise can use the HACCP label on the products after the FFF passes the HACCP accreditation. The HACCP label can empower the imported food with more competitiveness on the Korean market. 


(HACCP Label) 

The above amendments came into effect on July 1, 2021. Nevertheless, grace periods are given to the below enterprises according to the export volume: 


Enforcement date

Enterprises exporting over 10,000 ton kimchi to South Korea in 2019

October 1, 2021

Enterprises exporting 5,000 to 10,000 ton kimchi to South Korea in 2020

October 1, 2022

Enterprises exporting 1,000 to 5,000 ton kimchi to South Korea in 2021

October 1, 2023

Other situations

October 1, 2024

Additionally, on July 1, 2021, MFDS revealed a subordinate regulation HACCP Operation Regulation for Imported Food4, detailing the accreditation requirements, procedure, and investigation. Thus, the HACCP supervision system for imported food is initially completed.

Legislation Timeline of Imported Food HACCP Supervision System


>> On April 7, 2020, MFDS replaced the registration mechanism for Good Foreign Food Facilities with the newly introduced HACCP accreditation for FFF (Amendments of the Imported Food Act5).


>> On November 11, 2020, MFDS solicited public opinions on the supporting rules of HACCP Accreditation for FFF. (Draft of Enforcement Rule of Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control6)


>> On June 30, 2020, MFDS announced that FFFs could apply for the HACCP accreditation when they met the criteria and designated the overseas Kimchi factories as the only one item in the first batch of FFF subject to compulsory HACCP accreditation. (Amendments of Enforcement Rule of Imported Food Act1)


>> On July 1, 2021, MFDS issued the HACCP Operation Regulation for Imported Food4, detailing the accreditation requirements, procedure, and investigation.

As stipulated in the subordinate regulation, the applicant shall submit the application letter to the Korea Agency of HACCP Accreditation and Services (KAHAS)7 along with a HACCP plan including the critical limit, monitoring method, and the corrective measure.

The KAHAS will go through the application documents and conduct an on-site inspection if needed. After confirming the facility is in compliance with the HACCP criteria3, KAHAS will issue the certificate of HACCP accreditation to the FFF.

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