The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced the withdrawal of Vietnam’s chili due to the level of pesticide residues being 10 times higher than the standard.

The Vietnam Trade Office in Korea said that on April 7, 2023, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced that it would suspend selling Vietnam’s chili products after detecting pesticide residues exceeding the standards.

Vietnam’s chili is favored by the Korean market.

The withdrawn product is  Vietnam’s chili with production years 2021 and 2022 imported by JM Food Co., Ltd. (Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do) and Daelim Global Food Co., Ltd. (Gangseo-gu, Busan).CO., LTD (Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do).

The products were imported in the form of frozen, dried, and small packaged for sale in Korea and found to be unsuitable after inspection.

In these products, tricyclazole, an insecticide used mainly in rice cultivation, was exceeding the standards.

The level of pesticide residues detected in JM Food’s imports was 0.11 mg/kg, 11 times higher than the standard (less than 0.01 mg/kg), and Daelim Global Food’s imports were 0.05 mg/kg.

The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety immediately withdrew the products and asked consumers who bought them to stop eating and return them to purchasing points.

According to the Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association, in 2022, Vietnam exported about 4,900 tons of chili, with a turnover of 11.9 million USD. Along with pepper, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, turmeric, etc, chili is listed in the spice group. The key markets of this item are the United States, China, Korea, Arab countries, India, and Russia.

Korea is Vietnam’s third-largest export market. In the first 2 months of 2023, our country’s export turnover to Korea reached 3.79 billion USD, up 2.1% over the same period last year and accounting for 7.6% of the total export turnover. The spice group including Vietnam’s chili is favored in this market.

Earlier, at a meeting of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Trade Office in Korea recommended that processed food exporters to Korea need to comply with the food safety regulations of the host country.

The standards of this market for agricultural and fishery products are very strict, no less than Europe and Japan. In particular, Korea is very serious about checking the residues of pesticides, microorganisms, and antibiotics.

Korean consumers promote the trend of green consumption and sustainable development through the use of safe products, environmental protection, and packaging that limits the use of plastic materials.

Chili exporters need to strictly comply food safety inspection and other relevant regulations at the request of the importing country

Therefore, in order for food and vegetable products to be consumed well in Korea, in addition to quality and taste, additional factors are needed such as stability in production, safety in processing, and trust. These factors will help enterprises be advantageous in negotiating and keeping partners in the long term.

“Localities, associations, and enterprises need to spend time researching and analyzing the Korean market to clearly determine which consumer segment the product is aimed at, which technical standards the products need to meet, and especially pesticide residues (PLS system) in the Korean market,” said Mr. Pham Khac Tuyen, Vietnam trade Office in Korea.

After receiving the Korean Ambassador’s letter enclosed with the request for inspection by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for Vietnam’s chili, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Binh Thuan province (the province has a large export turnover of chili to Korea) has sent an official letter to the local Sub-Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection, and chili export enterprises to Korea, about the inspection of food safety of the Korean side.

Accordingly, the province requires individuals and enterprises to provide the test results of pesticide residue approved by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety together with the export batch. The interim period for the application of the inspection request is one year, starting from March 31, 2023 to March 30, 2024.

To facilitate the production and export of chili to Korea, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Binh Thuan proposed relevant units to strengthen guidance, propaganda, and training for individuals and businesses on regulations as well as related technical solutions. This is to ensure the compliance with regulations of importing countries in general and Korea in particular, especially pesticide residues.

Besides, chili exporters to Korea need to strictly comply with Korean food safety inspection regulations and other relevant regulations at the request of the importing country./.