South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced last week plans to expand its pet food safety monitoring procedures to address the growing market and pet owner population across the country, according to Yonhap, a South Korean news agency.

The country will investigate the roughly 650 pet food products currently available to South Korean pet owners and issue a ban on sales for products with high residues of 73 designated hazardous chemical elements. This list of hazardous elements will be revamped by 2023, Yonhap shared.

Additionally, the ministry plans to include pet food products sold online in its investigation, an area previously considered as a “blind spot” for regulating the market, according to Yonhap. A survey conducted by the ministry showed 55.3% of pet owners purchased pet food online in 2020.

Overall, South Korean pet food sales were valued at 890 billion won ($790 million USD) in 2020 and is expected to reach 1 trillion won ($887 million USD) in 2023. Data from 2019 showed more than 25% of South Korean households own pets.

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