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South Korea Proposes to Revise Standards and Specifications for Food Contact Materials and Articles

SafeGuardSHardgoods, HardgoodsApril 27, 2020

South Korea has informed the WTO of its intention to amend its ‘Standards and Specifications for Utensils, Containers and Packages’. Comments are accepted until May 3, 2020.

In South Korea, food contact materials and articles are regulated under the Food Sanitation Act (the Act). Article 8 to the Act prohibits the presence or use of toxic/harmful chemicals in food contact utensils, containers and packages which could endanger human health. The Act also directs the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) to establish standards and specifications for these food contact materials and articles.   

In March 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated a proposal from South Korea announcing its intention to revise ‘Standards and Specifications for Food Utensils, Containers and Packages’. The draft amendment (in Korean), under MFDS announcement number 2020-97 of February 28, 2020 and attached to WTO document number 20-1701, contains several important changes:

  • Revising common manufacturing standards and specifications
  • Clarifying the use of recycled synthetic resins (recycled plastics) is allowed for materials and articles that do not come into direct contact with food, and subject to these recycled materials and articles not imparting harmful substances to food 
  • A completely new requirement of no more than 0.5% total volatile organic matter (VOM) for rubber nipples for young children and its corresponding test method (200 °C, 4 hours)

According to the proposal, the amendment will become effective on the date of its publication.

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