On April 5th the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), formerly the Korean Food and Drug Administration, provided a presentation on the future of the Korean maximum residue level (MRL) regulatory system. The presentation was given at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, DC and was also available via conference call. The presentation was open to all interested industry stakeholders.
In their presentation the Korean official described the country's plans to move to a positive MRL regulation by 2016. This means that Korea will no longer defer to Codex MRLs when a Korean national MRL is not established and MRLs currently derived from Korea's complex decision tree* would also be eliminated. Once implemented, only national Korean MRLs will be used in the country. Additionally, Korea has published a list of pesticide and veterinary drug MRLs that will be deleted. These are for uses that are not registered in Korea and are planned to be removed from the Korean Food Code. Finally, the new regulation will include a 0.01 part per million (ppm) default MRL, a list of pesticides exempt from the MRL requirement, and a list of prohibited pesticides.
Between now and 2016, Korea will be soliciting and reviewing import tolerance applications to establish additional Korean national MRLs. Any compound that does not currently have a national Korean MRL, or for which there is no current registered use in Korea, will need to have an import tolerance established in Korea under this review system.
Commodity groups and other interested parties will be responsible for identifying MRL needs in Korea and working with governments and registrants to submit the necessary information to Korea. Korea will be seeking actual data packages for review. They will consider summaries of Codex MRL data if submitted, but Codex summaries in themselves will not be sufficient for the establishment of Korean MRLs. Korea expects submissions from governments or registrants with the required data. Korea will try to harmonize MRLs with Codex when possible, but still will undertake full reviews of the submitted data packages.
US commodity groups plan to coordinate with the US government and registrants regarding future import tolerance submissions to ensure the most efficient use of resources.
Until this new MRL regulation is implemented in 2016, the current regulation remains in effect.
* Korea's MRL decision tree:
- Korean national MRL
- Codex MRL if established for specific commodity. Korea does not accept Codex crop group MRLs.
- Lowest MRL for commodities in the same Korean crop subgroup as the commodity in question (e.g. for peach—lowest MRL listed for other Stone Fruits)
- Lowest MRL for commodities in the same Korean crop group as the commodity in question (e.g. for peach—lowest MRL listed for other Fruits)
- “Other Agricultural Product”
- MRL Lowest MRL established for the pesticide