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Food Labeling System

Food Labeling System

1. Food Labeling

○ To provide consumers with more accurate information on food products, MFDS implements related regulations and standards* that requires the labeling of product name, ingredients, manufactured and expiration dates (quality retention date), net contents, identity and principle place of business, and nutrition information, as well as sanitary instructions for safe storage and warnings on the packaging and container.

* Article 10, 11, 12-2, 12-3, 12-4, 13 of the 「Food Sanitation Act」

* Article 8 of the 「Enforcement Decree of Food Sanitation Act」

* 「Food Labeling Standards」

1-1. Key Function of Food Labeling

○ Provides basic information of product
- Product name
- Type of food product
- Identity and principle place of business
- Manufactured date, expiration date or quality retention date
- Name and amount of food ingredients
- Country of origin (Please refer to MAFRA, MOTIE, and Korea Customs Service website for details on labeling method)
- Net contents (weight, volume, etc.)

○ Provides consumers with information on safety, nutrition, and health
- Storage and handling instructions
- Warnings for consumer safety
- Nutrition Information (calorie, carbohydrate, sugar, fat, sodium, etc.)
- For special dietary foods, labeling that can indicate such information

○ Method for food sales, promotion and advertisement
- Low fat, low cholesterol
- Rich in dietary fiber, etc.

1-2. Food Equipment Categorization and Labeling System

○ Purpose: This system requires food-related equipment to be labeled with a special label indicating that they have been manufactured as food-related equipment according to the standards specified in the 「Food Sanitation Act」 in order to prevent consumers from getting injured or harmed by using unsafe, non-food-related equipment on foods.

○ Labeling Subject: Apparatus (or equipment; in direct contact with food) in Article 2 (4) of the 「Food Sanitation Act」

* Tableware, Scissors, Disposable gloves, Bags, etc.

○ Labeling Method: In principle, the term 'food-related' or 'food-related mark' must be imprinted by ink or carved on the product package or the product itself for the smallest package unit of the product, but if this is impossible stickers can be used for the labeling.

○ Implementation Period: labeling for metal in 2015 → labeling for rubber in 2016 → labeling for synthetic resin in 2017 → labeling for all types of material in 2018

<Image of Food-related Mark>

1-3. Foods for Allergen Labeling and Labeling Method

○ Foods for Allergen Labeling: eggs (confined to those from poultry), milk, buckwheat, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, mackerel, crab, shrimp, pork, peach, tomato, sulfurous acid (confined to cases where sulfurous acid is added and the final product includes 10mg/kg or more SO2), walnuts, chicken, beef, squid, clams (including oyster, abalone, and mussels)

○ Labeling Method: If product A used raw materials that contain allergens, and if another product used the substance obtained through extraction or other methods from product A, or food or food additives that contain product A or its substance as its ingredient, then the raw materials must be listed on the label regardless of content. Moreover, a separate allergen labeling must be made near the raw material labeling with a different background color, to list the raw materials that require allergen labeling.

* Example: This product contains wheat and milk

○ Warning label for possibility of allergen mixture: According to the 「Food Labeling Standard,」 if a manufacturer uses the same manufacturing process for both products that contain and don't contain allergens, this requires the labeling that inevitably there is a possibility of allergen mixture in the contents, as a warning for consumer safety. In this case, the allergen used as raw material for the product does not need to be labeled.


 

2. Nutrition Labeling

2-1 Nutrition Labeling for Processed foods

○ Mandatory Food subject

- Retort foods, Confectioneries (snacks, candies and sweetened ice), breads and dumplings, chocolates, jams, edible oils, noodles, beverages, special purpose foods, fish sausages and instant foods (Gimbap, hamburger and sandwich), pastes, coffee, processed milk products (milk formulas, milks, fermented milks, processed milks, ice-creams, powder milks, natural cheese and processed cheese) in livestock processed goods, sausages
* Article 11 of the 「Food Sanitation Act」
Article 6 of the 「Enforcement Rule of Food Sanitation Act」
Article 6 of the 「Livestock Products Sanitary Control Act」

○ Mandatory Nutrients - Calorie, carbohydrate, sugar, protein, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium

* 「Livestock Products Labeling Standard」 [Annex 1] 1.H.1) 「Food Labeling Standard」 [Annex 1]1.A.9)

○ In order to help the consumer's understand of nutrients labeling, current format is improved to illustrate simplified and unified standard nutrition labeling for advanced readability and consistent nutrient order.

<Current Image>

*열량: Calories, 탄수화물: Carbohydrate, 당류: Sugar, 단백질: Protein, 포화지방: Saturated Fat, 트랜스지방: Trans-fat, 콜레스테롤: Cholesterol, 나트륨: Sodium


(%) Daily Nutrient Reference Values: Percentage against nutrient reference value per day

<Improved format>

2-2. Nutrition Labeling for Children's Favorite Foods

○ Mandatory Food subject

- Businesses (with 100 or more stores) that make and sell hamburgers, pizza, baked goods, and ice-cream among children's foods

* Article 11 of the 「Special Act on Safety Management of Children's Dietary Life」
Article 8 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Special Act on Safety Management of Children's Dietary Life」

○ Mandatory Nutrients

- Calorie, sugar, protein, saturated fat and sodium for each serving

2-3. Voluntary Nutrition Labeling of Restaurants and Food Services

○ Family restaurants, Snack bars selling ttukbokgi, etc, expressway service stations, amusement parks, snack corners in large theaters, and food courts in department stores or large supermarkets have voluntarily implemented nutrition labeling.

<Foods and Ingredients subject to Nutrition Labeling in Relevant Acts and Labeling Methods>
Classification Food Sanitation Act Special Act on Safety Management of Children's Dietary Life Livestock Products Sanitary Control Act
<Processed Food>
  • Snacks, Candies, Sweeted ice
  • Breads and Dumplings
  • Chocolates
  • Jams
  • Edible Oils
  • Noodles
  • Beverages
  • Special Purpose Foods
  • Fish Meat Processed Foods: Fish Sausage
  • Instant Foods: Kimbap, Hamburger, Sandwich
  • Retort Foods
  • Coffee (excluding roasted coffee and instant coffee)
  • Pastes (excluding Korean Meju, Korean Traditional Soy Sauce, Korean Doenjang and Cheonggukjang)
  • Foods where business operators pursuant to Article 11 (2) conducts nutrition labeling himself
<Processed Food> Labeling with color and shape
  • Confectioneries: Snacks (excluding Korean traditional snack Hangwua), Candies and Ice-creams
  • Breads
  • Chocolates
  • Fried Noodles (cup noodles) and Noodles
  • Beverages: Fruit and Veg Juice, Fruit and Veg Beverage, Soda, Lactic Acid Beverage, Mixed Beverage
  • Fish Meat Processed Foods: Fish Meat Sausage
  • Instant foods: Kimbap, Hamburger, Sandwich
  • Milk Processed Foods (excluding milk processed foods with 82.5% or higher original milk content) : Processed Milks, Fermented Milks (excluding fermented butter milks, fermented milk powders), Ice-creams
<Processed Food>
  • Processed Meat Products: Sausages, Hams
  • Processed Milk Products: Milk Formulas, Milks, Fermented Milks, Processed Milks, Ice-creams, Powder Milks, Natural Cheese and Processed Cheese
  • Livestock products to be labeled with nutritional content or nutrient content claim.
Target Food <Cooked Foods>
  • Bread and Baked Goods
  • Ice-cream
  • Hamburgers, Pizza
  • Other foods willing to label nutrition information * Mostly foods in businesses with more than 100 franchise business operators that cook and sell children's foods
Subject Nutrient
  • Calorie, Sugar, Protein, Fat, Trans fat,, Saturated Fat, Sodium, Cholesterol, Carbohydrate (9)
  • Calorie, Sugar, Saturated Fat, Protein, Sodium (5) <Nutrition Labeling for Cooked Food >
    * Only Calorie can be labeled on menu, etc.
  • (Recommendation) Additional labeling of Sugar, Fat, Saturated Fat and Sodium (4) on the front
  • Calorie, Sugar, Protein, Fat, Trans fat, Saturated Fat, Sodium, Cholesterol, Carbohydrate (9)

 

3. Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Labeling System

○ MFDS checks products labeled as Genetically Modified Foods in import declaration during the import process for adequate labeling. For GMO products imported as raw materials for one's own manufacturing business, relevant details are notified to the local government of jurisdiction to ensure appropriate follow-up management.

○ For manufacturing and processing businesses that use products labeled as Genetically Modified Foods as raw material, MFDS reviews relevant documents including IP certificate, or government certificate and raw material receipt and payment ledger, and inspects product storage and usage status to check compliance of labeling implementations. When necessary, MFDS also collects and inspects products.

○ With the amendment of the Government Organization Act in March 2013, the responsibility for labeling control of Genetically Modified Agricultural Products was transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) to MFDS. GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) management including LMO (Living Modified Organism) related responsibilities were unified to be under the supervision of MFDS, and the two were combined for the establishment of the 「Labeling Standard for Genetically Modified Foods, etc,」 (enacted on April 24, 2014), enabling more systematic management for Genetically Modified Foods.

Classification Food Sanitation Act Agricultural and Fishery Products Quality Control Act
Legal Provision Article 12-2 (Labeling) Article 56 (Labeling)
Related Notice 「Labeling Standard for Genetically Modified Foods, etc」
Labeling Subject Among food products manufactured and processed with GMO as key raw material, products that still have genetically modified DNA or genetically modified protein after manufacturing and processing (including health functional foods). However, foods that go through a high level of refinement and processing and thus do not have any genetically modified DNA residing in the final products, such as soy sauce, vegetable oil, starch, sugar and alcoholic beverages, are excluded. Food items approved and declared by the Minister of Food and Drug Safety as adequate for food based on safety test results: which are bean, corn, Canola, raw cotton, sugar beet (including bean sprouts, baby leaf vegetables grown from these items)
Mandatory Labeling Applied Persons Business operator working in food manufacturing and processing, instant foods manufacturing, processing and selling, food additive manufacturing and processing, food sub-dividing, distributing and selling, importing and selling of foods, etc, health functional food manufacturing, health functional food importing, or health functional food distributing and selling business. Person who produces and ships genetically modified agricultural and fishery products, Person who sells such products or Person who stores or displays such products for sale
Labeling Method Labeling must be clear and expressed in colors differentiated from the background package, with fonts larger than size 10 on the main labeling side or next to the raw material data, so that consumers can easily see the information. Labeling must include the expression 'Genetically Modified Food' or 'Food including Genetically Modified OO.' If use of genetically modified raw materials cannot be confirmed, then this can be labeled as 'Has possibility to include Genetically Modified OO.' Labeling must be clear and differentiated from the color of the background package, ink-printed, carved, marked or in stickers, written in fonts larger than size 10. When item is sold individually or without package, labeling must be done with signboards or information displays. Labeling must be expressed as 'Genetically Modified OO' or 'Including Genetically Modified OO,' etc. If genetically modified agricultural or fishery product may be included, this can be labeled as 'Has possibility to include Genetically Modified OO.'

 

4. Health Functional Food Labeling System

○ To enhance quality of health functional foods and to provide consumers with accurate information, MFDS implements related laws and regulations* that require health functional foods to have the right mark and label while providing information on product name, raw materials, expiration date, identity and principle place of business, and product functions. Health functional foods are also required to add intake instructions on its container and package.

* Article 17, 18 of 「Health Functional Foods Act」

* 「Health Functional Food Labeling Standard」

4-1. Items Required in Product Labeling

1) ‘Health Functional Food’ label and image

2) Product name
3) Identity and principle place of business
4) Expiration date and storage method
5) Contents
6) Nutrition information
7) Functional information
8) Intake instructions including intake amount and method
9) Raw material contents
10) Expression that this product is not a pharmaceutical product used for disease prevention or treatment
11) Other matters defined by the detailed labeling standards for health functional foods

- For animal-derived ingredients, ingredient name, type of animal source, and utilized part of animal must be included in the labeling
- Allergen ingredients and high caffeine contents must also be labeled.

4-2. Functional Information Labeling Method

○ Only the functions recognized by the health functional food standards and specifications, or functions individually recognized by MFDS can be expressed in the labeling.

○ Contents used in labeling and advertising of functions are strictly confined to the pre-approved details in accordance with the health functional food labeling and advertising deliberation standards (In some cases, contents can be exactly same with that depicted in the standards and specifications, or the details individually approved by MFDS)