What are you looking for?

South Korea Issues New Food Contact Material and Article Standards

SafeGuardSHardgoodsNovember 26, 2021

South Korea has published its latest specifications for food contact materials and articles. These are to be implemented in phases, starting September 2021.

In South Korea, food contact materials and articles are regulated under the Food Sanitation Act (the Act). Chapter 3 of the Act prohibits the presence or use of toxic/harmful chemicals in food contact utensils, containers and packaging which could endanger human health. It also directs the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) to establish standards and specifications for these products.

In September 2021, South Korea’s MFDS issued Notice No. 2021-76 with the latest food contact requirements under the nation’s ‘Standards and Specifications for Utensils, Containers and Packaging’ (the Standard). The latest Standard document incorporates the proposed provisions from Notice No. 2021-234 of May 2021 (SafeGuardS 86/21). It:

  • Uses new language and a new structure for better clarity
  • Adds polyketones as a new material under synthetic resins (see Table 1 below for specifications)
  • Groups synthetic resins with similar structures into nine categories:
    • Olefins with six materials
    • Esters (twelve), with butylenesuccinate copolymer (PBS) and butylenesuccinate-adipate copolymer (PBSA) as individual entries – the requirements for potassium permanganate consumption are now excluded for non-water-resistant PBSA containers
    • Styrenes (five)
    • Amines (three)
    • Acrylics (three)
    • Aldehydes (four)
    • Ethers (five)
    • Vinyl chlorides (two)
    • Others (three – fluorocarbons, epoxy resins and polyketones)
  • Provides specifications in the form of a table for each synthetic resin, rubber, regenerated cellulose, paper, metal/alloy, wood, starch as well as glass, ceramic, enamel and pottery materials, for ease of reference
  • Provides new safety provisions for active and intelligent materials/containers
  • Regulates the use of recycled synthetic resins, including improved standards for recycled polyethylene terephthalates (PET)

There are two important effective dates:

  • September 7, 2021, for Notice 2021-76
  • January 1, 2022, for recognized raw materials (flakes, etc.) used during the recycling process if these are recycled synthetic resins made of physically regenerated PET materials and meet the criteria for recycled synthetic resins in utensils, containers and packaging

Highlights of the requirements for polyketones in Notice No. 2021-76 are summarized in Table 1.

Ministry of Food and Drug Safety Notice No. 2021-76, September 7, 2021
‘Standards and Specifications for Utensils, Containers and Packages’

Food Contact Material


Effective Date


≤ 1.0 mg/L lead
≤ 10.0 mg/L potassium permanganate consumption
≤ 30 mg/L overall migration

September 7, 2021

1Polyketone is a copolymer of carbon monoxide, ethylene and propylene, and refers to a synthetic resin in which the content of carbon monoxide in the base polymer is approximately 50%

Table 1

SGS technical experts have extensive knowledge and testing experience in materials and articles in contact with food. They work to ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials, paving the way for compliance. From overall migration tests to expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review, SGS is the partner to trust. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Discover more on our website and read our brochure.   

For inquiries, please contact:

Dr. Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: (+852) 2774 7420


© SGS Group Management SA - 2021 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry
Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry

News & Insights

  • SGS SafeGuardS

1 Place des Alpes,

P.O. Box 2152, 1211,

Geneva, Switzerland