SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Nearly half of all kimchi served at restaurants and food service facilities in South Korea is from China, a survey by the World Institute of Kimchi showed.
According to a report released on Monday (Oct 2) on trends in the kimchi industry last year, 13.7 per cent of the kimchi consumed in South Korea was imported.
Some 47 per cent of the kimchi served at restaurants and cafeterias was also from abroad, with 90 per cent imported from China.
South Koreans consumed 1.85 million tons of kimchi last year, up 15 per cent from 2015 - it amounts to 36.1 kilograms of kimchi consumed per person on average last year.
Some 63 per cent of the kimchi was made at home, while the rest was purchased ready-made.
The institute urged the government to draw up proper guidelines for imported kimchi, citing growing public anxiety over food safety.
"While kimchi manufacturers in Korea are required to meet Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point rules (to assure food safety), most of the kimchi imported from China is not," the institute said, citing preservatives, artificial sweeteners and germs detected in Chinese kimchi in recent years.
"There should be measures to manage the hygiene and safety of kimchi," it added.