The Korea Herald


Samgyeopsal Day heats up with stricter fat guidelines

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : Feb. 28, 2024 - 11:41

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Pork belly is being promoted for March 3, also known as Pork belly is being promoted for March 3, also known as "Samgyeopsal Day," at a Lotte Department Store in Seoul. (Yonhap)

March 3, also known as "Samgyeopsal Day" in Korea, is approaching, with anticipation building for promotional events planned by local supermarkets.

Most supermarkets and e-commerce platforms will offer discounts ranging from 40 to 50 percent on pork belly from Feb. 29 to March 3.

But there is a complication: This year is the first Samgyeopsal Day following the implementation of government guidelines on excessive fat content in pork belly.

Last year, criticism arose over local stores' Samgyeopsal Day promotions in which they were accused of using lower-quality, excessively fatty meat to create the misleading impression that customers were receiving a good deal.

To address these concerns, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs set new guidelines that fat in regular pork belly cuts should not be more than 1 centimeter thick, and 1.5 centimeters for pork belly with skin.

E-mart said it will conduct thorough checks to ensure no excessively fatty pork belly is displayed for sale. The discount chain also guarantees returns if customers encounter any excessive fatty meat issues.

Lotte Mart has implemented an AI-powered system to screen the fat content of their pork belly products., the online arm of Shinsegae Group, also has declared its commitment to quality. It refuses to sell any products below its own standards and conducts random quality checks. Additionally, the platform encourages customers to report unsatisfactory purchases with photos and also promises to ensure easy returns.

Coupang also said it has established its own quality control system for pork belly sold on its platform.