On June 29, 2020, South Korea promulgated the revised Food Code1. The amendments include the general provision, pesticides and veterinary drugs residue limits, new raw materials, storage standard, new product type, testing methods, etc. The details are as below:
1. New General Provision
MFDS modified the general provision with the intention of relaxing the restrictions of food categorizing and promoting product innovation. In South Korea, the Food Code1 regulates the standards and specifications of food products. It consists of (a) general provisions and (b) standards and specifications for each food category specifying the permitted raw materials, manufacturing methods, testing methods, etc. According to the previous regulation, there might be no reference standard for an innovative product with a new food material or new manufacturing technology. Therefore, the competent authority added a new general provision to open more opportunities to the industry:
As long as the final products are the same, one product can be sorted under the same food category of the final product. The product may use new food materials or manufacturing methods that are not listed in this food category's standard and specification.
2. New Food Materials
The regulation permits 29 new food materials, deletes 1 risk material, and clarifies the obscure descriptions.
Other Name/Acceptable Market Names
Evening primrose (달맞이꽃)
Common evening primrose (겹달맞이꽃)
Oenothear biennis L.
Tuber brumale vittad.
Atka mackerel (단기임연수어)
Eriocheir japonica (동남참게)
Japanese mitten crab
Oriental weatherfish (미꾸리)
Blue king crab (청색왕게)
Blue king crab
Backwater hard clam
Bengal tongue sole
Common spider conch
New Zealand rough skate
New Zealand smooth skate
North African catfish
Other Name or Acceptable Market Names
3. Storage Standards
(1) Dried or powdered food products whose water content is less than 15% can be stored or transported frozen.
(2) Canned/bottled food and retort food whose shelf life is over 12 months, can refer to the standards and specifications for long-preserved food.
4. New Food Forms
The new version of Food Code1 permits vinegar to be made in forms other than liquid.
Additionally, the regulation also allows the seasonings to be made in beverage form.
5. Food Safety Control
MFDS intensified food safety control by adjusting the heavy metal contents remaining in edible insects, the pesticides in vegetables, and veterinary drugs remaining in livestock products.
(1) Heavy Metal Contents in Edible Insect
The authority integrated the heavy metal content limit of each edible insect into one standard:
Standard (in dried form)
Inorganic Arsenic (mg/kg)
Less than 0.1
(Rhinoceros beetle larva and Protaetia brevitarsis larva:
less than 0.3)
Less than 0.1
Less than 0.1
(2) Veterinary Drug Residue
In beef, pork, chicken, milk, egg, and fish products, the maximum residue of veterinary drugs not specified in the Food Code1 shall be under 0.01 mg/kg.
(3) Pesticide Residue Limits
The MRLs of 9 pesticides are modified, and the MRLs of 112 pesticides, such as Glufosinate, Glufosinate, Napropamide, etc., are added. (ChemLinked provides custom reports about Korean pesticide MRLs, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.)
6. Other Amendments
① The specification of sulfate ion in salt is deleted to keep aligned with international standards.
② Testing methods are optimized.
③ Enterprises can manufacture “products with milk(유함유가공품)” according to the proposed standard in MFDS Notification No.2020-32.