Korea, U.S. sign pact on organic foods

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Korea, U.S. sign pact on organic foods

The United States and Korea will recognize each other’s standards for organic products traded between the two nations.

But organic products traded between the two countries will not be certified if they contain any genetically modified organism (GMO).

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced that an agreement between Korea and the U.S. on standards for organic foods took effect yesterday and the two countries will recognize each other’s standards for organic products that are imported and exported.

U.S. products with labels indicating that the goods are made organically, approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be allowed to be sold in Korea without additional approvals by Korean authorities.

This will simplify exports of organic products from both countries. Before yesterday, Korean manufacturers experienced procedural burdens and extra costs when they exported organic products due to slightly stricter standards for organic food in the United States.

The recognition will be confined to products made of more than 95 percent organic materials.

Any use of GMOs will be banned, the agreement said. If GMOs are found in any imported organic products, they will not be able to use their original label and the indication of being organic will be removed from the label, the ministry said.

The United States wanted tiny amounts of GMOs accidentally included in a product to be accepted. Korea was stricter in its stance.

By song su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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