On March 19, 2020, law firm Keller and Heckman LLP (KH) reported on South Korea’s intention to amend its “Standards and Specifications for Food Utensils, Containers and Packages.” The country submitted a notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO) outlining specifically that:

  • “The common manufacturing standards are revised.
  • The standards for using of recycled synthetic resins are revised.
  • The common specifications, the usage specifications and the suitability determination of standard and specifications are revised.
  • The test methods are revised.”

A review of South Korean food contact material regulation published by Chemical Watch explains that, currently, chemically recycled plastic resins made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) are allowed for use in direct food contact applications. This latest revision is described as allowing other recycled plastics including mechanically recycled plastics to be used in indirect food packaging so long as there is no risk of harmful substance migration into food. The most recent version of the standards was published in 2019, and the WTO notification links to a more detailed document about the notification written in Korean. Comments can be submitted on the notification until May 30, 2020.

Read more

KH (March 19, 2020). “Korea Notifies WTO Concerning Proposed Update to Food Packaging Standards.”

WTO (March 19, 2020). “Notification from South Korea.”

Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (December 2, 2019). “Standards and Specifications for Utensils, Containers and Packages (2019-2, 20190109).”

Chemical Watch (April 1, 2020). “South Korea to allow use of certain recycled plastics under FCM regulation.”

SGS (April 27, 2020). “South Korea Proposes to Revise Standards and Specifications for Food Contact Materials and Articles.”

Chemical Watch (January 2, 2020). “South Korea FCMs: The main amendments since 2016.”