On Feb. 4, 2016, the Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management (the “Imported Food Act”) goes into effect. By providing a unified piece of legislation that combines and refines various provisions of disparate statutes ranging from the Food Sanitation Act to the Health Foods Act to the Livestock Sanitation Act, the Imported Food Act streamlines imported food safety regulation in Korea. At the same time, the Imported Food Act also revamps imported food safety regulation by shifting back the primary point of regulation from the customs phase to the production phase. Among the changes are new provisions requiring registration and more rigorous onsite inspection of overseas production sites.

1. Scope of the Imported Food Act

The table below summarizes various types of food that are governed by the Imported Food Act

Click here to view table.

Key provisions of the Imported Food Act are as follows.

Click here to view table.

2. Implications

As noted above, the Imported Food Act requires, among others, registration and onsite inspection of overseas sites producing food products to be imported into Korea. As failure to comply with these requirements may result in a criminal sanction – not to mention revocation of an import license – in Korea, those engaged in importation of food products into Korea are advised to pay careful attention to relevant provisions of the Imported Food Act.