[EDITORIALS]Afraid of our own foodFollowing the fracas over Chinese kimchi, parasite eggs have been discovered in domestically-produced kimchi and cabbage. People can’t trust their food after reading so many stories about discoveries of impurities in both imported and domestic agriculture and marine products. The government’s inability to cope with the problem is truly maddening.
The Food and Drug Administration has said that the parasite eggs that were found were still in an early stage and if consumed would be discharged from the body immediately without hurting the consumer. That this same organization which announced only 10 days ago the discovery of parasite eggs in Chinese kimchi, a shocking find that has caused a trade conflict with China, now says the parasite eggs pose no harm is just bewildering. Even if that argument is true, how can people feel safe at this stage? And what about the companies that have suffered from the export ban and had their business licenses revoked by the Chinese government?
Kimchi is the foundation of Korean cuisine and is the country’s representative agricultural export. We are worried that the current situation could lead to an overall mistrust of kimchi in general and damage our reputation as the mother country of kimchi. Most importantly, it is expected that our exports of kimchi, which amount to over $100 million a year, will suffer a serious blow. Frankly, the recent kimchi scandal is mainly due to the government’s desertion of its duty. Until now, the government has done nothing to tackle the issue of parasites in agriculture products. Only when the possibility of parasite eggs was mentioned in the National Assembly did the government start to investigate and announce their findings. Under such conditions, and in the absence of a sufficient monitoring system, it was anticipated that parasite eggs would be discovered in domestically-produced kimchi.
The government has announced a food safety plan that would manage the production of food items from the farm to consumer’s mouths. The Uri Party has also acknowledged the absence of an overall system of food regulation and vowed to push for measures to address this issue. In order for a a system of food regulation to take place, however, the current system, which is divided into eight organizations, must be unified. Nevertheless, this is something the government has tried to do every time a food problem occurred, but each time it failed because the organizations fought to preserve their narrow interests. Let’s hope that the government and the ruling party do not resort to another patchwork measure.