Insights: Global Insights

Korea’s Positive MRL List and What It Means for Exporters

As of January 1, 2022, Korea has implemented its positive MRL list system. Korea no longer defers to international Codex MRLs and will only use its national MRLs going forward. If no MRL is established in Korea for a commodity/pesticide combination, Korea will apply a 0.01 parts per million (ppm) default tolerance that must be met.

This new policy was many years in the making and the Korean government did an excellent job in consulting stakeholders to ensure awareness of the coming policy change and encourage applications so needed MRLs could be established. Many commodity groups pursued such MRLs by having pesticide registrants or consultants apply for Korean MRLs. Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) even delayed full implementation of the new system by three years to allow for additional applications and established as many MRLs as possible in the final year (2021) so exports to Korea would not be affected.

Growers and shippers around the world are cautioned to be aware of the new Korean MRL policies and to take Korean MRLs seriously. The newly implemented system is being applied to imported products.

BCI’s Vice President for Global Access in Seoul working on regulatory issues
BCI’s Vice President for Global Access in Seoul working on regulatory issues

The transition is now over and exporters to the market are expected to fully comply with Korean MRLs or the default level if no MRL is in place. New MRLs can be sought and established in Korea, but applications need to be made to MFDS, a fee must be paid, and a thorough review will occur.

Growers and shippers around the world are cautioned to be aware of the new Korean MRL policies and to take Korean MRLs seriously. The newly implemented system is being applied to imported products. Korea is testing imported product for pesticide residues against the new positive MRL list, and rejections have already occurred under the new MRL policy. Korea publishes a list of compounds for which it tests. For additional information on how to seek import tolerances or Korean pesticide monitoring policies on imports, please contact Bryant Christie Inc.

Should a shipper have a residue violation in Korea, he or she should consider approaching their commodity group for assistance. Bryant Christie Inc. has assisted numerous shippers with pesticide residue violations in Korea and has strong contacts throughout the US government and US Embassy in Seoul to assist with any detained shipments and address future questions resulting from a violation. Please contact us with any questions you might have.