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Korea to Require Registration of Foreign Food and Food Packaging Facilities

April 29, 2016

Effective August 3, 2016, all foreign manufacturing facilities that produce food and food packaging to be sold or marketed in Korea must be registered. This applies to all facilities producing food; food additives, and food packaging. In this regard, registration is not required for facilities that produce raw materials used in the manufacture of food packaging articles.  A complete summary of these requirements is provided on our website, KHlaw.com.

The registration requirement is mandated by Korea's Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management, which took effect on February 4, 2016, along with its implementing regulations. However, The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), formerly known as "KFDA," provided for a six-month grace period with respect to the foreign facility registration requirement.  The law further authorizes MFDS to conduct on-site inspections of foreign facilities and to take corrective action should foreign manufacturers decline to participate in the audits.  In drafting the Special Act, the Korean authorities took into account the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and China’sRegulation on Management of Registration of Foreign Manufacturer of Imported Food. (See U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report, Korea's Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management, March 11, 2016).

For facilities not yet in operation (or which have yet to supply product to Korea), the companies must complete their facility registration no less than seven days prior to filing an import declaration for the relevant products.  MFDS retains the right to reject the import declarations filed by importers, etc. that have failed to register in accordance with the law.  Accordingly, companies that fail to properly register their foreign facilities may risk having their products held at port and not permitted entry into Korea.

Registrations remain effective for a period of two years unless revoked by MFDS.  Should MFDS determine that a registration should be revoked, that facility will not be permitted to register again for a period of three years.

The MFDS online registration platform is available in both English and Korean and no registration fee is required. The application for registration requires that following information: company name, location, and contact information; and facility name, location, and contact information. Companies with more than one factory must provide information on all production facilities that require registration. The final registration portal allows companies to upload documents relating to their products, such as hazards analysis and critical control points (HACCP) Certifications or ISO Certificates relating to each facility.