On January 1, 2019, Korea will enforce the Positive List System (PLS) to all whole agricultural products except pesticides in agricultural products which are registered domestically or scientifically proven to import. The MRLs of those pesticides will follow one standard which is less than 0.01ppm. This rule has been applied to seed and nut products and tropical fruits since December 31, 2016.
The MFDS (Ministry of Food and Safety) mainly introduced PLS for some imported agricultural products where the pesticide MRLs is not established in Korea. According to the current regulation, it will follow CODEX or similar food category standards so the residual limit will be higher than the level in the exporting country, which means a system should be established to guarantee the safety of pesticides with no MRLs.
The Food Code (2018-8) released on February 22, 2018, mentioned the importance of introducing PLS to Korea like that of Japan and the EU, for example, to efficiently manage the safety of pesticides in food. Additionally, it set up a few terms to implement PLS for pesticides which do not have MRLs and a list of pesticides that can be exempt from setting specific MRLs. In total, 109 pesticide MRLs are amended in Food Code (2018-8). In the latest Food Code (2018-18) which was released on March 20, 2018, 45 pesticide MRLs were amended.
With the implementation of PLS, an increase in agricultural products with excessive pesticide residue may occur and lead to pesticide safety inspections due to a more strict regulatory system.