Problems with an earlier pilot project, in operation since October 2012, have now been addressed, and all pork, from breeding to butchering, packaging and sales has been fully traceable since 28 December 2014.
The Republic’s previous ‘Act on the Traceability of Cattle and Beef’ was amended as of 27 December 2013, to include other livestock and products such as pork, with the new act coming into effect a year later.
The Ministry said the reason for the focus on pork was to identify the causes of any potential issues regarding that particular protein, and "to provide prompt measures to collect and discharge the problematic meat, if/when necessary, by recording information of trade stages from breeding to sales".
The changes mean consumers will be able to access information, such as the location of pork breeders, the date of butchery, butchery inspection results and profiles of the packaging companies.
Under the new Act, breeders will be required to report their breeding status once a month, and mark their pigs with farm identification numbers whenever pigs are transferred to other farms or slaughterhouses.
Butchers will then be required to check the farm ID numbers and issue separate traceability numbers to the livestock.
Meanwhile, packaging and sales staff are required to log these traceability numbers, as well as record and manage the trade history of their products, including the prices pork products are sold for in their stores.
Consumers can even check the information about the pork they are buying on a mobile app, using the 12-digit traceability number. The new system can also distinguish between Korean pork and imported pork, leading to enhanced competitiveness for the Korean pork industry, it said.
A spokesperson for MAFRA commented: "The new pork traceability system will be a turning point for Korea’s pork industry to step forward."
MAFRA said there would be a buffer period for the industry to get accustomed to the newly-introduced system at the distribution stage, with all businesses needing to comply with the new rules by 28 June 2015.