S. Korea to start DNA screening of agricultural imports

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea plans to start a comprehensive DNA screening of imported agricultural goods to prevent mislabeling fraud, the government said Monday.
calendar icon 26 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The state-run National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service (NAQS) said higher demand for locally grown produce and better prices on the market have encouraged merchants to mislabel cheap imports, particularly rice and beef.

Imported rice has been sold in South Korea since April 2006, and 23 out of the 24 cases of mislabeling uncovered since then involved rice from China. Chinese rice is 40 percent cheaper than locally grown rice, and mixing Chinese rice with locally grown rice translates into greater profits.

The NAQS said testing on Chinese rice could begin as early as next month. The agency said it has identified the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers that could allow them to identify 30 types of Chinese-grown rice that are hard to differentiate from South Korean brands. It said the remaining 50 types will be catalogued for reference by the year's end.

"Once all the SNP markers are catalogued, tests will be able to identify Chinese imports with 80-90 percent accuracy," a official at the quality management service under the Agriculture Ministry said.

Under an agreement between South Korea and nine rice exporting countries in late 2004, Seoul must import 23,000 tons of rice this year. Overall, it must import 34,000 tons of rice by the year's end as part of a deal to maintain import restrictions.

In addition to rice, authorities are to expand DNA testing of imported beef this year.

Source: Yonhap News
© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.