The Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA) was restructured and elevated to ministry status as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) in March 2013. The MFDS oversees food, drug, biologic, cosmetic, and medical device safety in the Republic of Korea.
NIFDS is part of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and is “responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety of foods, drugs, and medical devices…[and] for advancing the public health by promoting the competitiveness in health-related industry though science-based tests, research, and evaluation.”
NIFDS Toxicology Research activities include toxicological and pharmacological research, safety evaluations, development of guidelines and databases, development and validation of alternative test methods, animal use for the safety control of food and drugs, and cooperation with international organizations (such as OECD, US FDA/NCTR, German BfArM, ECVAM, ICCVAM, and JaCVAM).
Research, safety evaluations, guidance, and international harmonization for cosmetics and biologics as well as drug safety/efficacy and the establishment and revision of the Korean Pharmacopoeia are overseen by NIFDS.
The MOE is the primary agency overseeing the protection of Korea’s environment. “The mission of the Ministry of Environment is to protect the national territory from threats of environmental pollution and improve the quality of life for the public so that the people can enjoy ambient natural environment, clean water, and clear skies.”
MOE tasks include enactment and amendment of environmental laws and regulations, setting up standards for regulations, environmental cooperation with other countries, and more. Korea’s environmental laws are described on the MOE website, including a link to the English text of the Toxic Chemical Controls Act.
MOE also provides a Korea REACH Helpdesk. Korea’s National Assembly adopted K-REACH, the Korean version of the EU REACH regulation on May 1, 2013, requiring substances to be registered and evaluated as of January 1, 2015. Estreicher and Timmel report that “As enacted, K-Reach adopts many of the elements of the European Union’s REACH regulation with some important differences.” The English version of K-REACH is not yet available.
Korea joined the OECD in 1996. The MOE “has actively collaborated with other member countries by participating in various meetings of the Environmental Policy Committee and the Chemical Committee, and presenting Korea’s major environmental policies…. Since hosting the OECD workshop on the Consideration of Chemical Safety in Green Procurement in 2005, Korea has held an annual OECD workshop, at which OECD trends on major policy issues are discussed and a direction is sought for Korea’s environmental policy.”
NIER is “a government-run research institute specialized in environmental issues, thereby supporting the implementation of the national environment policies….Since its establishment, NIER has been conducting diverse and thorough research in environmental areas, such as air and water pollution, waste management and resource recycle, soil and ground water pollution, biodiversity conservation, ecological risk assessment, noise and vibration, environmental health, environmental law and policy, etc.”
This is not a comprehensive list of all Korean agencies. We welcome your suggestions for additional ones to be covered here.