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Food News Clipping

February 3 - 9, 2021


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

For Coverage: February 3 ~  9, 2021


Lotte Shopping Reports 8.8% Sales Decline in 2020

Summary: Lotte Shopping Co., a leading retail company in South Korea, reported that it generated 16.1 trillion won ($14.6 billion) in cash-register sales and 346 billion won ($315 million) in operating profits in 2020, down 8.8 percent and 19.1 percent respectively from 2019.  Department store division sales and hypermarket store division sales declined 15.2 percent and 4.6 percent respectively due to reduced consumer traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic.  On the other hand, the TV home shopping division saw a 9 percent growth in sales.


Importers Must Prove Safety of Their Probiotic Products as of February 9, 2021
Summary:  Beginning February 9, 2021, Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) will implement the ‘Orders to Undergo Inspection’ proving the safety of probiotic products imported from overseas manufacturers that have failed in complying with regulation three or more times in the last three years.  65 cases of nonconformity occurred in imported probiotic products over the past three years.  Shortage in the number of probiotics was the most frequent non-conformity with 55 cases, followed by low disintegration rate (8 cases) and detection of coliform group (2 cases).  Accordingly, MFDS has decided to subject imported probiotics to tests checking probiotic content, disintegration rate, and E-coli content.


Korean Government Confirms 88th Outbreaks of High-Pathogenic Avian Influenza This Winter

Summary: The Avian Influenza Management Center under the Korean government reported on February 8 that it confirmed another outbreak of high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a poultry farm in Pochun city, Gyeonggi province.  It was the 88th HPAI outbreak reported in local poultry farms this winter.


Imported U.S. Eggs are Offered in COSTCO Stores

Summary: COSTCO Korea started to offer imported U.S. eggs on February 7.  Supply of local eggs has declined significantly due to continued outbreaks of high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).


Korean Fishery Industry Generates $4 Billion from Near Sea Fishing

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Marine and Fishery reported on February 7 that the local fishery industry generated 4.4 trillion won ($4 billion) in revenue in 2020 from near sea fishing, up 10.3 percent from the previous year.  Squid was the top catch in near sea fishing ($454 million - up 30.5 percent), followed by hair tail ($424 million), anchovy ($307 million), yellow corbina ($263 million), and flower crab ($244 million).  In terms of weight, anchovy was the top catch (216,000 metric tons), followed by mackerel (77,000 metric tons), hair tail (66,000 metric tons), and squid (57,000 metric tons).


2021 Best New Product Awards Food & Beverage/Agricultural Products Category

Summary:  Starbucks fresh strawberry drink menus in 3 kinds ('sweet', 'refreshing', and 'soft') and RXBAR from Chicago were nominated for the 2021 Best New Product Awards (Food & Beverage/Agricultural Products Category) in Korea.


Korean Government to Allow ‘Sugar-free’ on Labels, Guidelines to be Announced within the First Half

Summary: Korea has not been allowing "sugar-free" claims on food labels, which conflicts with international Codex standards.   The Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced recently that it will revise its labeling standards and allow 'sugar-free' or 'no sugar-added' claims on product labels.  MFDS said details of the 'sugar-free' labeling standards will be announced within the first half of this year.


Traceability System Required on Food for Special Dietary Uses

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced that food processors or importers of processed foods for special dietary uses (including products targeting pregnant women, patients, and people with special dietary problems) will be required to have a traceability system from December 2021.  The requirement is applied to companies with annual sales revenue of 10 million won ($89,000 USD) or higher.  MFDS explained that the traceability system is intended to allow consumers to make informed choices.


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