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South Korea to Enhance the Imported Food Management

MFDS proposed to add an application document for Foreign Food Facility registration and request a mandatory sanitary certificate of livestock products. KAHAS was designated to manage the Foreign Food Facility on-site inspection.

After a video of a nude man manufacturing Kimchi in an overseas factory spreading over the Korean media early this year, the safety of imported food concerned Korean consumers. Underneath the media hype, though MFDS had clarified the Kimchi in the video is not for export, the Korean consumers' sharp reactions urged Korean authority to modify the imported food requirement

MFDS released the draft of the Enforcement Rule of Imported Food Act 1 on March 25, 2021, after discussing it several times with the industry experts. They proposed to amend supervisions on the Foreign Food Facility and livestock products. Suggestions can be sent to before May 4, 2021. 

Main Proposals

1. Foreign Food Facility Safety Control

To ensure the overseas factories comply with the local food law, MFDS would additionally request the applicants to submit either of the following documents when applying for the Foreign Food Facility registration:

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

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

In terms of updating the Foreign Food Facility Registration, either the facility owner or the food importer would be capable of changing the registered items. Currently, only the original applicant can update the Foreign Food Facility Registration. (See the whole process of registering a Foreign Food Facility here 2)

Additionally, Korean authority is to designate the Korea Agency of HACCP Accreditation and Services 3 (KAHAS, 한국식품안전관리인증원), a professional food safety and hygiene certification body, to manage the Foreign Food Facility on-site inspection, in an effort to better control the food risks of imported food.  

Besides, MFDS would raise up the penalty for the importer's failure to conduct the overseas OEMs sanitation inspection to 2 million KRW (about 890 USD) from 500 thousand KRW.

2. Mandatory Requirement of Imported Livestock Products

The sanitary certificate of the imported livestock products is voluntarily submitted under the situation where the exporting country has contracted with S. Korean government. Nevertheless, the draft illuminated that the submission of sanitary certificate of the imported livestock products is compulsory after January 1, 2022.

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