Posted 28 March 2013
By Alexander Gaffney, RF News Editor
The Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) is no more, the agency said in an announcement on 28 March 2013. Instead, it-like its Chinese counterpart, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), formerly the State Food and Drug Administration-will soon change its name after being reorganized and upgraded in statutory authority.
KFDA will now be called the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), it said. The name change closely follows CFDA's, which unceremoniously changed its name on 25 March 2013 following its own reorganization.
In a statement, MFDS said its reorganization is specially aimed at setting up a so-called "control tower" meant to "bolster the food safety management system improving the ways to respond to safety accidents and implement modern means of administrative management."
Much of the reorganization is aimed at the regulator's allocation of administrative duties at the departmental level, it said. "Policy making and development function remains within the Headquarters while the duties relating to enforcement, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation are transferred to the Regional Food and Drug Administration."
As with CFDA, the MFDS reorganization was due to concerns about the safety of food products in the country, an alarming number of which had been found to be contaminated with unsafe adulterants.
However, unlike China, Korea's reorganization decentralizes its authority to regional regulators, and also looks to make changes to drug regulation
Among the most important changes in the country is the oversight of on-site drug inspections by newly-created departments within regional authorities. In addition, the National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation (NIFDS) will be making changes meant to link the risk assessment procedures for food and drug products with the safety and efficacy evaluations of drug and device approvals.
"The MFDS will place efforts for this government restructure to secure safety of the foods for the public and to settle in new food safety management system in a rapid manner," the regulator pledged. "The MFDS will constantly monitor the implementation of the new organization structure for its improvement."