On July 15, 2021, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) promulgated the Regulation on Inspection of Imported Food1 to enhance safety control of imported food.
The regulation intensifies the pesticide residue inspection, modifies the safe imported food list, and optimizes the pre-inspection requirements for agricultural products shipped by bulk carriers. The details are specified as below:
1. Pesticide Residue Inspection
The regulation modified the pesticide inspection items of imported food subject to the accuracy inspection. 8 pesticides with historically high non-compliance frequency are added. 4 pesticides are removed from the list for low risk. Therefore, the pesticides to be tested are expanded from 65 to 69 pesticides.
Download the updated pesticide inspection item list at the end of this article.
Enforcement Rule of the Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control2 stipulates that the MFDS shall inspect the imported food after receiving the import declaration. The import inspection includes document inspection, on-site inspection, accuracy inspection, and random inspection.
When MFDS deems the imported food is subject to an accuracy inspection following the requirements in the Attached Table 9 of the Enforcement Rule of the Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control3, the relevant food shall undergo an pesticide residue inspection including the assessment items of the 69 pesticides listed in the Regulation on Inspection of Imported Food1.
2. Expanded Safe Imported Food List
MFDS newly designated three imported foods as the safe imported food for no non-compliance records within five years. They are 1) South African fruit wine, 2) German fruit wine, and 3) Belgian processed chocolate products. These safe imported foods can simply go through a document inspection during the import declaration.
Additionally, the authority removed the US jelly from the safe imported food list for the recent non-compliance results.
3. Pre-inspection of Agricultural Products
The regulation permits the agricultural products shipped by bulk carriers to take the import inspection on board ahead of arriving in South Korea. This provision improves the import inspection efficiency and eases the significant market demand of agricultural products under the COVID-19.
4. Other Amendments
The test methods of pesticide residue are modified to keep aligned with the amendments in Food Code4.
The requirements of accuracy inspection are clarified. Suppose an imported food product with a history of non-compliance is shipped to South Korea again, the product shall undergo an accuracy inspection, including an assessment of the previous non-compliance item.