The Fair Trade Commission said on May 28 that it has decided to impose a fine of 50 million won (US$42,107) on LG Electronics along with a correction order for violating the Display Advertising Act.
According to the commission, LG Electronics sold kimchi refrigerators from August 2012 to June 2016 and advertised the accessory kimchi containers as being "certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."
However, the commission found that LG Electronics' kimchi containers had not been certified by the U.S. FDA. The company’s kimchi containers simply met the FDA's safety standards, but it used a false and exaggerated advertisement. FDA's certification is only given to medicine and plastic food containers such as kimchi containers are not eligible.
“By advertising that its kimchi containers were certified by the U.S. FDA, which has a high awareness of food safety, LG Electronics gave a false impression to consumers that its refrigerators are superior to those of its competitors,” the FTC said.
LG Electronics also advertised its kimchi containers as an “environment-friendly product” from June 2011 to June 2016, saying that they received U.S. FDA certification and HS mark. This was also a false and exaggerated advertisement, the FTC said, noting that the containers were not certified by the U.S. agency and that the HS mark is not a standard for environment-friendliness.
"The 'HS Marking' only means that a food container has met the legal standards for safety that it must comply with," the FTC said. "We cannot use it as a basis for a product being environment-friendly.”