"Health panic" in Korea

Koreans eat a lot of kimchi, a delishious cabbage dish, that has become very popular in Japan as well. Even in my supermarket, they sell different types of kimchi, but I prefer to buy homemade stuff from a lady who sells it from her little cart in front of the train station. Now it turns out that imports from China are not as safe as they should be. A Korean politician, Rep. Ko Kyung-hwa has released a report on high lead content in Chinese kimchi. The investigation was carried out by the Korean Research Institute of Public Health and Environment.

The Korea Times talks about a "health panic" and explains:

The analysis of 10 varieties of Chinese kimchi being sold over the Internet showed an average lead content of 0.302 parts per million (ppm), about three times the average amount found in locally made products. One sample contained 0.57 ppm of lead, as much as five times the acceptable level of the toxic metal, which is known to cause severe developmental problems in children.

At a FAO/WHO Codex meeting I attended in Korea in September, 2004, it was decided to make an international food safety standard for kimchi. Such standards are needed when cross-border trade in a particular food starts to become common.

Update: Click here for developments.

This is a website with a nice movie that promotes traditional Korean foods.


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