Korea, Republic of (formerly South Korea)
Restrictive Requirements for Imports

NAME(S) OF REGULATION AND/OR STANDARD (with links):

Korean Organic Regulations (KOR)
 
The new Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods consolidates Korea's organic regulations, and is sometimes referred to as the New Organic Regulations. Certification by a MAFRA-approved certifier is required. In December 2013, the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced a six-month Education Period to allow business to adapt and transition to the new regulations, which were implemented January 1, 2014. The regulations, although implemented and in place during the Education Period, would not be fully enforced until July 1, 2014. As a result, the six-month period will allow U.S. and Korean negotiators to conduct rigorous peer review audits and begin equivalency negotiations while facilitating trade through June 30, 2014.
 
See the Food and Agricultural Import Regulations (FAIRS) report from December 2013 and this January 1 update for more details.
 
Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods: Consolidates Korea's organic regulations, and is the legal basis for Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) organic certification program for both fresh produce and processed food products and equivalency for processed organic products. 
 
Environment-friendly Agriculture Promotion Act (.pdf; unofficial English translation)
- Enforcement Regulations and Annexes
- Guidelines on Designation as a Foreign Certification Body
 
Food Industry Promotion Act (.pdf; bilingual, scroll down for English) 
- Enforcement Decree
- Enforcement Regulations and Annexes
- Guidelines for Designating and Operating Certification Agencies
- Certification Inspection by Site and Related Training Sessions
- Operational Guidelines for the Organic Processed Food Certification Program
 
 
 

AUTHORIZED GOVERNMENT AGENCY(S):

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)
MAFRA's National Agricultural Product Quality Management Service (NAQS) is responsible for setting quality standards and grades for agricultural products, enforcing country of origin marks, GMO labeling requirements, and organic labeling for fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains in the marketplace, accrediting certifiers of non-processed organic produce, and post monitoring of labeling of organic processed food products in the market place. NAQS collects samples from retail markets and tests products for GMO content with RDA-developed testing methods.

AGENCY(S) CONTACT INFORMATION:

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)
94 Dasom2-ro
Government Complex-Sejong
Sejong-si 339-012,
Republic of Korea
Telephone: 82-2-1577-1020

Environment-Friendly Agriculture Division of the MAFRA
Tel.:  82-44-201-2432
Fax:  82-44-868-0483
E-mail:  chds@korea.kr or kbb0922@korea.kr

NAQS
172, Anyang-no, Manan-gu, Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Telephone: 82-31-446-0124
Fax: 82-31-446-0901

DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION: 2011

DATE OF REVISIONS: 2013

REGULATION AND/OR STANDARD SCOPE:

The new Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods consolidates Korea's organic regulations, and is sometimes referred to as the New Organic Regulations. Certification by a MAFRA-approved certifier is required. In December 2013, the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced a six-month Education Period to allow business to adapt and transition to the new regulations, which were implemented January 1, 2014. The regulations, although implemented and in place during the Education Period, would not be fully enforced until July 1, 2014. As a result, the six-month period will allow U.S. and Korean negotiators to conduct rigorous peer review audits and begin equivalency negotiations while facilitating trade through June 30, 2014, and will allow the continued stream of commerce for U.S. organic processed products until then.

The Korean Environment-friendly Agriculture Promotion Act covers organic and other sustainable methods of agriculture. A very broad policy statement intended to encourage the conversion of Korean agriculture to more environmentally sustainable production methods, the Environment-friendly Act is complex, and 'organic' is included within most sections. The Act classifies agricultural products according to their methods of production and the materials used as either organic agricultural product; non-chemical agricultural products; non-antibiotics (for livestock) products; or low-chemical agricultural products. In the marketplace, a common seal may be used to identify products that comply with the Act with the different classifications identified through words (organic, non-chemical, non-antibiotic, and low-chemical.) Within the Act, the Korean enforcement regulations for organic agriculture products cover important areas including conditions of the production environment, transition to organic production, crop and seedling requirements, soil management, pest and weed control, animal production, healthcare, nutritional requirements and animal welfare, transition to organic production and materials allowed for crop and livestock production.

KOR is product-based standards. Crop and livestock producers will want to pay particular attention to The Environment-friendly Agriculture Promotion Act (Environment-friendly Act), which establishes the organic program for organic crop and livestock production. Processors will want to be familiar with The Food Industry Promotion Act, which establishes the organic program for organic processed products. KOR requires operators to select transportation methods for raw materials and products to minimize negative impacts on the environment. This is an environmental policy within Korea and does not affect organic integrity. KOR has zero tolerance for genetically-modified organisms in processed products. The regulations were introduced 2008, and have been consolidated as the Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods

IMPORTED PRODUCTS:

Organic agricultural produce and processed products complying with the U.S. organic standards or international standards still needs certification from MAFRA's official certification agency to carry a "Korean language organic label" in the Korean market.

CERTIFICATION: Mandatory

In addition to certification for plant and animal products, certification is also required for products comprised of less than 70% organic ingredients. MAFRA has officially designated Korean certification agencies and foreign entities, but none in the United States as of December 2013.

ACCREDITATION: GOVERNMENT

Accreditation is done by MAFRA's National Agricultural Product Quality Management Service (NAQS), and must be renewed every five years. 

Accreditation for crop and livestock certifiers comes under the Environment-friendly Act, which has specific guidelines for requirements for determining accreditation of foreign certification body that are largely equivalent to the requirements for determining accreditation of domestic certification bodies. There is an additional committee formed to review foreign certification bodies that does not have a parallel for domestic certification bodies. Accreditation for organic processed products falls under the Food Industry Promotion Act, which does not specifically call out accreditation protocols for foreign certification bodies, and subsequent Guidelines. Examples of KOR accreditation standards for foreign certification bodies that are not requirements for domestic certification bodies for Crops and Livestock: An Inspecting Committee of five to seven members reviews foreign certification body applicants. The Inspecting Committee is established under the Consumer Information and Food Safety Division of NAQS. The scope of certification work is limited to certifying organic products in the country in which the certification body is located. Additional offices that meet the certification body requirements must be established in each country in which agricultural products are certified. KOR requires, for certification bodies seeking processed organic product accreditation, a review team of three or more government employees that would do review of applications and on-site visits.


REFERENCE STANDARDS:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

MAFRA is currently in the process of consolidating the legislation covering processed and fresh organic products. After this process is complete, the United States and Korea will work towards negotiating an equivalence arrangement that will cover both processed and fresh organic products, including livestock and dairy products.

Fresh organic products must be certified to Korean standards, beginning January 1, 2013.

GENERAL FILES: