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Republic of Korea

Disclosure of the Amount of Harmful Substance Contained in Foods (KR0043)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Republic of Korea Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Residues and Contaminants Standard Division, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Environment and Climate, Health, Open Data, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Republic of Korea Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Disclosure of the Amount of Harmful Substance Contained in Foods
Commitment Start and End Date
September 1, 2018 ~ August 31, 2020
Lead Implementing Agency/Actor
Residues and Contaminants Standard Division, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
Commitment Description
What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
While there is a growing risk of food contamination due to environmental pollution, climate change and changing eating habits, the public has raised the bar on food safety as the income level goes up. However, the mere fact that harmful substance is contained in foods becomes social issues or negative news spreads due to lack of accurate information on the level of contamination. Therefore, a proactive response is called for in order to eliminate public anxiety over food safety.
What is the commitment?
This commitment is about making the following information publically available: the amount of harmful substance contained in foods largely and frequently consumed by the public (19 types). The changes in the amount of harmful substance contained in foods as a result of global warming and environmental pollution are continuously made available to the public. Such changes include the following raw data: the food type (item), the manufacturer/producer country, the area of production, the area of collection and the detected amount. The public’s anxiety over the food safety could be relieved, and citizens would be given choices for healthy foods as the aforementioned information is made publically available
How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?
The detailed implementation methods are as follows: 1) to create and update a database with the information on the level of contamination of foods every five years and provide ‘the harmful substance quick search service’ to allow convenient search; 2) to provide detailed information on types of inspected foods, items, manufacturer and producer countries, areas of collection, places of collection (small, medium and largesized supermarkets and traditional market places), the level of contamination by food in downloadable files for research purposes; 3) to share the management approach with the public according to the findings through disclosing the reevaluation report on standards
Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
Enhancing Transparency / Citizen Participation
Exchange and Peer Learning
N/A
Additional Information
Supplementary budget needed to add 20,000 data sets to the DB per year
Milestone Activity with a Verifiable Deliverable
Inspecting the level of contamination of highly and frequently consumed foods (19 types)
Disclosing the level of contamination of 8 types of fungal toxin (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
Disclosing the level of contamination of dioxin and PCBs (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
Disclosing the level of contamination of benzopyrene (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
Disclosing the level of contamination of 3-MCPD and melamine (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
Disclosing the level of contamination of 6 types of heavy metal (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
Contact Information
Name of Responsible Person from Implementing Agency
Miok Eom
Title, Division
Residues, Contaminants Standard Division
Email and Phone
miokeom@korea.kr, +82-43-719-3853
Other Actors Involved,
N/A

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Disclosure of the Amount of Harmful Substance Contained in Foods

Commitment Text:

"Disclosure of the Amount of Harmful Substance Contained in Foods"

This commitment is about making the following information publically available: the amount of harmful substance contained in foods largely and frequently consumed by the public (19 types). The changes in the amount of harmful substance contained in foods as a result of global warming and environmental pollution are continuously made available to the public. Such changes include the following raw data: the food type (item), the manufacturer/producer country, the area of production, the area of collection and the detected amount. The public's anxiety over the food safety could be relieved, and citizens would be given choices for healthy foods as the aforementioned information is made publically available.

The detailed implementation methods are as follows:

1) to create and update a database with the information on the level of contamination of foods every five years and provide 'the harmful substance quick search service' to allow convenient search;

2) to provide detailed information on types of inspected foods, items, manufacturer and producer countries, areas of collection, places of collection (small, medium and large sized supermarkets and traditional market places), the level of contamination by food in downloadable files for research purposes;

3) to share the management approach with the public according to the findings through disclosing the reevaluation report on standards

Milestones:

  • Inspecting the level of contamination of highly and frequently consumed foods (19 types)
  • Disclosing the level of contamination of 8 types of fungal toxin (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
  • Disclosing the level of contamination of dioxin and PCBs (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
  • Disclosing the level of contamination of benzopyrene (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
  • Disclosing the level of contamination of 3-MCPD and melamine (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)
  • Disclosing the level of contamination of 6 types of heavy metal (Quick search, research materials, the reevaluation report)

Start Date: 1 September 2018 End Date: 31 August 2020

Editorial Note: For the full text of the commitment, please see Korea's 4th National Action Plan 2018-2020 at https://bit.ly/2JvQr98.

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

7. Overall

Assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

The purpose of this commitment is to increase access to information on the amount of harmful substances in food frequently consumed by the public. The commitment will create a regularly updated database containing relevant information, with downloadable files for research purposes. Additionally, it will publish reports on how the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) reevaluates standards. This commitment stands to alleviate public concerns about food safety and empower citizens to make healthier choices.

This commitment is verifiable as it outlines measurable milestones, such as disclosing specific toxin levels in 19 types of frequently consumed food. Although the "quick search" and "downloadable files" text confirms that the information will be available online, the commitment does not specify if the information also will be shared offline.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information as it endeavors to publicly disclose government-held information pertaining to the safety of food. It is also relevant to the value of technology and innovation for transparency as it aims to disclose this information on an online platform built for this purpose.

Environmental pollution and climate change have increased the risk of food being contaminated with harmful substances. The MFDS commenced research into the extent of food contamination in 2015, [32] with longitudinal case reports being published on a dedicated food safety website. [33] This commitment improves accessibility to this data by reformatting the database. [34] Specifically, key monitoring data (including details on harmful substances) and data on the geographic origin of the food will be categorized and published in an open and accessible manner. [35] Therefore, this commitment stands to have a positive but incremental impact on alleviating public concerns around food safety.

Next steps

Increasing access to information on harmful substances in food empowers the public to make healthier consumption choices. If this commitment is carried forward into future action plans, the IRM recommends building on existing efforts to raise ambition in the following ways:

  • Allowing citizens to submit special inquiries into the amount of harmful substances found in an expanded category of food types;
  • Establishing and publishing a clear protocol and timeline for responsible stakeholders to provide reasoned responses to citizen inquiries about contamination; and
  • Regularly publishing and disseminating findings on contamination levels in key items through offline channels, such as leaflets or media, to facilitate wider public reach, and engaging educators to ensure that youth are aware of such information as well.
[32] See Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, "식품정보" [Food Information] (2019), https://bit.ly/2BG7CUR.
[33] "식품안전나라" [Food Safety Korea] (2020), https://www.foodsafetykorea.go.kr/main.do.
[35] Miok Eom (Food Standard Planning Office, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety), interview by IRM researcher (June 2020).

Commitments

  1. Public-Private Anti-Corruption System

    KR0036, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  2. Management System for Performance Venues

    KR0037, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Real-Name Policy System

    KR0038, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Safety Inspection System

    KR0039, 2018, E-petitions

  5. Public Diplomacy System

    KR0040, 2018, Public Participation

  6. Open Communication Forum

    KR0041, 2018, E-Government

  7. Citizen Participation in Policy-Making

    KR0042, 2018, E-Government

  8. Disclosure of the Amount of Harmful Substance Contained in Foods

    KR0043, 2018, Access to Information

  9. Open Data

    KR0044, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Discosure of Cultural Heritage Resources

    KR0045, 2018, Infrastructure & Transport

  11. Open National Priority Data

    KR0046, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Public Data Qulity Management

    KR0047, 2018, Access to Information

  13. Voluntary Compliance Customs Administration

    KR0048, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. Organization Information Disclosure Online

    KR0022, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Information in Original Form

    KR0023, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Standard Model for Pre-Release Information

    KR0024, 2016, Access to Information

  17. National Data Disclosure

    KR0025, 2016, Access to Information

  18. Public Data Quality Management

    KR0026, 2016, Access to Information

  19. Free Open Format Use

    KR0027, 2016, Access to Information

  20. Open Data Standards

    KR0028, 2016, Access to Information

  21. Citizen Groups Government Service Design

    KR0029, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. e-Government Service Environment

    KR0030, 2016, E-Government

  23. Citizen Service Portals

    KR0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Citizen Services Application

    KR0032, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  25. Public Sector Corruption Research

    KR0033, 2016, E-Government

  26. Citizens' Accessibility to ODA Statistics

    KR0034, 2016, Aid

  27. Disclosing Information on International Aids

    KR0035, 2016, Aid

  28. Strengthening Public-Private Collaboration

    KR0017, 2014, E-Government

  29. Providing Customized Services

    KR0018, 2014, Marginalized Communities

  30. Enhancing Information Disclosure

    KR0019, 2014, Access to Information

  31. Strengthening Public Service Ethics

    KR0020, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  32. Encouraging the Private Sector to Utilze Public Data

    KR0021, 2014, Access to Information

  33. Provision of Diverse Public Services

    KR0001, 2012, E-Government

  34. Strengthening Citizens’ Monitoring of Government

    KR0002, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  35. Use e-People to Promote Public Input in Policy Development

    KR0003, 2012, Public Participation

  36. Promote the Proposal System for Receiving Public Input Electronically

    KR0004, 2012, E-Government

  37. Develop a Manual on Consensus Building Among Various Stakeholders

    KR0005, 2012, E-Government

  38. Conduct Field Visits to Interact Directly with Stakeholders

    KR0006, 2012, E-Government

  39. Simplify Online Civil Affairs Application Forms

    KR0007, 2012, E-Government

  40. Refine the Portal to Be More User Friendly

    KR0008, 2012,

  41. Customise Online Services for Business

    KR0009, 2012, Private Sector

  42. Establish an Online Civil Affairs Hub to Provide 24-Hour Services

    KR0010, 2012, E-Government

  43. Disclose Critical Information on Food, Environment, and Education

    KR0011, 2012, E-Government

  44. Engage CSOs on Relevant Information to Be Disclosed

    KR0012, 2012, Public Participation

  45. Strengthen Asset Disclosure for Public Servants

    KR0013, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  46. Monitor Restrictions on Post-Public Employment

    KR0014, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  47. Release Public Information for Private Sector Use on the Data Sharing Portal

    KR0015, 2012, E-Government

  48. Engage Citizens in Administrative and Budget Processes

    KR0016, 2012, E-Government

Open Government Partnership