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Asia Minute: South Korea Tightens GMO Labeling Law

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The New Year has brought some changes in laws around the state and around the country. That’s also true overseas. And in South Korea, there’s another change coming soon-- related to genetically modified food. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

64 countries around the world require the labeling of genetically modified food.

The United States is not among them.

South Korea has had labeling laws on the books for some years.  And this year they’re getting more stringent.

Up to now, makers of any processed foods had to list genetically modified material if they were among the top five ingredients.

Starting next month, producers need to indicate if there is any genetically modified DNA or protein within the food.  The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety unveiled the changes late in December saying that they are aimed at “beefing up consumers’ right to know.”

There are other food labeling changes coming to South Korea in 2017.  Sodium is a particular target.

Starting in May, manufacturers will have to list sodium content in ready-to-eat foods---including sandwiches, hamburgers, and here’s the big one: instant ramen noodles.

Other changes include labels for cosmetics—a fast-growing export product for South Korea.

By the end of next month, cosmetics makers will need to include a production date or a recommended expiration date as part of the packaging.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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