Korea, Republic of (formerly South Korea)
Light Barriers to Imports
NAME(S) OF REGULATION AND/OR STANDARD (with links):
AUTHORIZED GOVERNMENT AGENCY(S):
Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF)
MIFAFF'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.
Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) oversees organic food labeling until January 1, 2013, then oversight of organic processed products is merged into the MIFAFF regulation.
AGENCY(S) CONTACT INFORMATION:
MIFAFF Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Policy Bureau
# 1 Choongang-dong, Kwacheon City Kyunggi-do, Korea 427-760
Telephone: 82-2-500-2126 or 2127
Consumer Safety Division, NAQS
310 Choongang-ro, Manan-ku Anyangshi, Kyunggi-do, Korea
Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA)
#643 Yeonje-ri, Gangoe-myeon, Cheongwon-gun Chungcheongbukdo, Korea 363-951
Telephone: 82-43-719-2020 or 2021
(For processed organic product labeling until Dec. 31, 2012, then it transfers to MIFAFF Food Safety Policy Division Food Safety Bureau)
DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION: 2011
DATE OF REVISIONS:
REGULATION AND/OR STANDARD SCOPE:
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 will be fully implemented in 2013.
The Korean legislature passed a new organic Act in May, 2012. Passing of the Act was critical to MIFAFF being
authorized to revise the Korean Organic Standards. Unfortunately, the Act only covers processed products and
does not go into effect until 2014 and fresh/raw agricultural products and ingredients will be shut out of Korean markets on January 1, 2013.
Organic agricultural produce complying with the U.S. organic standards or international standards still needs certification from MIFAFF's official certification agency to carry a "Korean language organic label" in the Korean market.
In addition to certification for plant and animal products, certification is also required for products comprised of less than 70% organic ingredients. KOR requires two inspectors from a certification body to inspect an organic food processing operation for two days. MIFAFF has officially designated 66 Korean certification agencies and two foreign entities - one in Australia and the other in Germany.
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.
The labeling standards for organic products are defined in the Labeling Standards for Food. These requirements will remain effective until December 31, 2012 at which time MIFAFF will assume full regulatory authority over organic products. Until then, Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) oversees organic product labeling. Products produced according to KFDA's labeling requirements, which clear customs on or before December 31, 2012, will be eligible to be sold in the marketplace until their shelf life expires. MIFAFF 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.
The Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA) on Nov. 13, 2012 published its draft revision of Labeling Standards for Food, including extending current organic labeling standards for processed food until Dec. 31, 2013. KFDA extended the current organic labeling standards based on a request from Korea’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MIFAFF). The new act also establishes the possibility of equivalence with other countries for processed products beginning in 2014. The KFDA extension allows imports of organic processed products to continue to be covered until the possible implementation of equivalency agreements.
Fresh organic products must be certified to Korean standards, beginning January 1, 2013.