[EDITORIALS]Kimchi must be inspectedIf the public thought that the allegations that Chinese-made kimchi imported to Korea contained an unsafe level of lead was scary enough, then it would be even more shocked to hear that authorities found parasite larvae in some kimchi made in China.
The Ministry of Welfare and the Korea Food and Drug Administration said Friday that in an inspection of 16 brands of imported kimchi sold over the Internet, nine products contained parasite larvae. The ministry has blocked the products from entering the market and has ordered those products that have already been sold to be recalled. However, it is virtually impossible to recall the products that have already been sold, and the public is increasingly apprehensive about imported food.
After the public uproar following a lawmaker’s allegation that Chinese kimchi was unsafe to eat because it contained a high level of lead, the Korea Food and Drug Administration tried to reassure the public by announcing that there was no safety problem with kimchi in the market, including Chinese-made kimchi, because the amount of lead found was within the permissible limit. For the administration to announce that parasite larvae had been found in some kimchi brands only 10 days after telling the people it is safe to eat kimchi is simply outrageous.
Despite this growing concern over its safety, sales of Chinese-made kimchi are steadily growing in the Korean market. Because it is cheaper than Korean-made kimchi, most retailers and restaurants prefer Chinese kimchi.
Chinese kimchi accounts for about 18 percent of the domestic market. It is estimated that over half of the restaurants around Seoul serve Chinese kimchi. Stronger inspections alone cannot guarantee our safety. We must ensure the quality of our food by supervising the entire process, starting from the farming, as is done in Japan.