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Does This Kimchi Come From China?
Joongang Ilbo, South Korea ^ | February 16, 2008 | Joongang Ilbo, South Korea

Posted on 02/15/2008 7:31:19 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL

Han Jae-wook, a 33-year-old office worker, said he eats lunch every weekday at restaurants near his office in Yeouido.

Needless to say, he and his lunch partners consume vast quantities of kimchi, but where does it come from?

“Just today while we were eating my colleagues and I were talking about how our rice and seonji (cow’s blood stew) looked like they came from China,” said Han.

Han admitted that much of the kimchi he had been eating in his favorite restaurants over the years might have been imported from China.

“I just presume it’s imported,” said Han. “It would be difficult to make all this kimchi just with cabbage harvested in this country.”

But he said he isn’t worried. Despite recent stories about the quality of food from China, not all of it can be health-threatening or low quality, Han said.

Wohn Hae-jeong, a mother of two who works for a technology company in Gangnam, is more cautious.

She said when she goes to nearby grocery stores she always checks the label to see the origin of the product.

“My husband and I try to choose products that are produced in Korea,” said Wohn.

She said some of her acquaintances are skeptical of Chinese imports.

“When I think about my family's health, Chinese imported foods just don’t seem safe,” Wohn said.

However, she eats lunch at nearby restaurants even though she assumes some ingredients are imported from China. “I have no choice and everyone else eats them.”

A worldwide trend of avoiding Chinese food products is growing rapidly. Japan is currently locked in a diplomatic standoff with China over food.

A large number of Japanese are no longer buying imported food products from China following a recent food poisoning incident.

Japanese authorities said they found traces of methamidophos, a toxic veterinary chemical, in imported Chinese dumplings.

What’s more, The New York Times last week reported that the United States Olympic Committee will take its own food to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Even Trader Joe’s, an American grocery chain with 285 stores in 23 states, announced this week that it is banning imported garlic, frozen organic spinach and soybeans from China until April 1.

However, the Korea Food and Drug Administration this week announced that dumplings imported from China and sold in Korean stores had been found to be free of agricultural chemicals following random testing.Since China and Korea reopened trade in 1992, Chinese food has maintained a huge presence in the Korean food industry and on the tables of the average Korean home.

According to the Korea Customs Service, 5.9 million tons of agricultural, fishery and processed food products were imported from China in 2006.

Imports rose to more than 8.5 million tons last year.

A report by the Korean Food and Drug Administration in 2005 found that among 67,505 imported goods from China that underwent sanitation inspection, 527 were destroyed or returned.

In 2006, out of 76,985 goods inspected, 381 were disposed of or returned.

China was the country that had the largest number inspections as well as the largest amount of products that were disposed of or returned.

The United States came in second with 38,000 items inspected and 152 marked “inappropriate.”

Despite the large number of items labeled as “inappropriate,” market experts say it’s difficult to run a business or set up a table without Chinese imported goods.

“It’s really hard for restaurants to operate using only local materials because of insufficient supplies as well as the prices,” said Kim Tae-gon, public relations officer of the Korea Restaurant Association.

Kim said the primary objective of running a restaurant is to make a profit. “Without Chinese imports, many stores would go out of business,” Kim added.

“Additionally, the low price of Chinese goods helps stabilize the consumer prices of agriculture and fishery goods, making other local items affordable.”

According to Kim, there are approximately 600,000 restaurants in Korea that are less than 50 square meters in size, accounting for slightly less than 50 percent, or 260,000. Kim said a majority of these small businesses have to rely on cheap imported Chinese goods or else raise prices, which would hurt business.

Business owners aren’t the only ones relying on Chinese imports. Ordinary Korean households also have little choice but to use imported Chinese products.

A study by the Korea Rural Economic Institute showed that 99 percent of ginger in Korea is imported from China. Additionally, Chinese spring onions, garlic, red peppers and perilla seeds have dominated 90 percent of the market since 2005. The study said that in three to five years, Chinese agricultural products will make up half the supplies in Korea.

Hong Moon-pyo, a Grand National Party lawmaker, in October last year, citing studies by the Korea Rural Economic Institute, said Chinese kimchi imports rose from 28,000 tons in 2003 to 178,000 tons in 2006.

He estimated that shipments would have reached roughly 230,000 tons by October 2007, though figures for 2007 are not available yet.

If that’s the case, Chinese kimchi is taking up 34 percent of the kimchi market in this country.

Kim said the government is responsible for managing the safety of food products imported from abroad.

“It’s hard to say that restaurant owners intentionally have a diabolical scheme to serve unsafe food to customers,”said Kim. “Food imported from China or any part of the world should be checked thoroughly before it is distributed to restaurant owners.”

Kim said the only preventive measures currently available are through frequent inspections by customs officers and the food and drug administration, as well as through a stronger and more transparent labeling system.

“We have been tightening inspections on imported Chinese food for a very long time, even before issues concerning Chinese goods became international,” said Suh Gap-jong of the Korea Food and Drug Administration.

“In 2006, we added 200 additional people to the team responsible for inspecting imported goods. That team is now over 350 people in total. In 2007, we increased random testing from an average of 2 percent of the imported quantity to an average of over 10 percent,” Suh added.

Additionally, the Korean Food and Drug Administration sent its people to inspect manufacturing plants in China.

Citing that it is the responsibility of the Customs Service to regulate illegal imports of Chinese products by individuals, the administration has been conducting inspections once or twice every month.

“It’s safe to eat food imported from China,” Suh added.

However, Suh admitted that the administration did not inspect the safety of processed food products until now.

“Exempting processed food from inspection is a global trend,”said Suh. “But in the wake of the situation in Japan, we have decided to tighten regulations and inspections on processed food.”

Small or larger operations are very sensitive about using imported Chinese goods, although they don’t deny that some of the food they serve is imported from the neighboring country to the west.

Korea had a major issue with imported Chinese cabbage and kimchi in 2005. Lead traces were found in imported kimchi, followed soon after by a discovery of parasites.

Korean restaurants at the time put up signs that said they used only cabbage harvested from Korea, and many owners started to prepare their own kimchi.

Nolboo, one of the largest Korean restaurant chains in Korea, said all the cabbage it uses for kimchi served in its restaurants comes directly from the southern region of the Korean Peninsula.

“We try to use just Korean food materials. However, other ingredients such as red pepper may be imported,” said Chung Hyeon, a public relations employee at Nolboo.

CJ Food System caters to more than 300 companies in Korea, said Chinese food products make up only 7 percent of the total material they use. Total imported goods account for 30 percent.

Most of the vegetables are from China, CJ said. The company only uses Korean cabbage when making kimchi. The company said it cut the cost of the more expensive Korean cabbage with direct mass purchases from cabbage farms.

The catering service uses Chinese vegetables only when there are none available from local farms, or when the quality and the price of the product is more competitive.

Most of the smaller restaurants were sensitive to the issue. Some were offended just at the mention of “Chinese imports.”

A Korean restaurant in Samcheong-dong, said all its food was local and no Chinese food was used. Sesame, however, was imported from the Sudan, staff said.

Another restaurant in the same neighborhood famous for its sujebi, a flour and potato soup, denied using Chinese products. They said their kimchi was purchased at local markets, which in turn claimed the kimchi was harvested locally. A small eatery in Shinchon in Seoul famous for tteokbokgi, or spicy rice cakes, also stressed its food was Korean.

But when asked if they had checked the origin label, they hung up.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; kimchi; korea; southkorea
KIMCHI

Staff at a restaurant in Seoul make their own kimchi in 2005 after parasites were found in kimchi imported from China. Many Korean restaurants insist they make their own kimchi today. (JoongAng Ilbo)

1 posted on 02/15/2008 7:31:20 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: Duchess47; jahp; LilAngel; metmom; EggsAckley; Battle Axe; SweetCaroline; Grizzled Bear; ...
MADE IN CHINA POTTERY STAMP

(Please FReepmail me if you would like to be on or off of the list.)
2 posted on 02/15/2008 7:31:38 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: JACKRUSSELL

3 posted on 02/15/2008 7:33:01 PM PST by ARE SOLE (Agents Ramos and Campean are in prison at this very moment.. (A "Concerned Citizen".)
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To: Tamar1973

I saw kimchi so I had to ping you. Haven’t read the article.


4 posted on 02/15/2008 7:36:04 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: ARE SOLE

Kimchi = suaerkraut???


5 posted on 02/15/2008 7:36:58 PM PST by chadwimc (Proud to be an infidel ! Allah fubar !!!)
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To: doc1019

Kimshi = Coleslaw with an attitude. ;-)


6 posted on 02/15/2008 7:37:07 PM PST by doc1019
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To: Tamar1973; Shermy

And this from Shermy’s homepage. Just a kim chi kind of night I guess:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za3C1zFk8l0&mode=related&search=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5zd3QkD30Y&mode=related&search=


7 posted on 02/15/2008 7:38:26 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: chadwimc

Same smell.


8 posted on 02/15/2008 7:38:33 PM PST by ARE SOLE (Agents Ramos and Campean are in prison at this very moment.. (A "Concerned Citizen".)
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To: ARE SOLE

We bought a jar of kimchi a while back and when I opened it it was as though Michael Moore had farted up my nose. People eat this crap?


9 posted on 02/15/2008 7:42:11 PM PST by Octar
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To: chadwimc
I can’t eat kimchi but I’ll eat sauerkraut. Many of the smaller restaurants here make the kimchi themselves but the chain restaurants probably use the imported stuff.
10 posted on 02/15/2008 7:45:27 PM PST by Hoosiersailor
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To: ARE SOLE

Not even close.


11 posted on 02/15/2008 7:45:30 PM PST by djf (I think McCain deserves a chance. After all, he is on R side!)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Heck.....I can’t imagine a parasite could survive in kimchi.


12 posted on 02/15/2008 7:46:37 PM PST by egginanest ( "Never interrupt me when I'm trying to interrupt you." -Winston Churchill-)
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To: Octar

Yes, they do eat this crap, it is akin to asian people looking at chipped beef or meatloaf and saying: people eat this crap? Diferent cultures eat different foods./Just Asking - seoul62......


13 posted on 02/15/2008 7:49:09 PM PST by seoul62
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To: JACKRUSSELL

How do the parasites survive the pickling and hot peppers? Must be some damned hardy parasites!


14 posted on 02/15/2008 7:50:16 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: chadwimc
Mmmmmm. Pickled Chinese scrub weed and ass peppers, stuffed in a flower pot and buried in an ox pasture for decades. Kimchi is the 'kraut' even we Krauts wouldn't eat.

And you complain about our caraway seeds. *HARUMPH*


15 posted on 02/15/2008 7:51:15 PM PST by Viking2002 (Waterboarding the Left every chance I get.)
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To: beaversmom
Staff at a restaurant in Seoul make their own kimchi in 2005 after parasites were found in kimchi imported from China.

Thats some pretty weak Kimche then, Kimche used to be made so powerful it would burn (burn off) the skin in your mouth. But also back then, a years worth was made at a time, and the "winter Kimche" was stored outside in crocks. Insects or parasites wouldn't get anywhere near it.

16 posted on 02/15/2008 7:54:54 PM PST by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagon)
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To: seoul62

I know that. Just as many people in India gag at the idea of eating cheese. I was considering traditional American taste, like mine. And yes, I know we are multi-cultural now, but I cling to our traditional tastes. If you don’t mind.


17 posted on 02/15/2008 7:56:25 PM PST by Octar
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To: Octar

Yup. Died in the wool southerner, but I do like kimchi, and sashimi, sushi, etc.


18 posted on 02/15/2008 7:57:14 PM PST by irishtenor (Check out my blog at http://boompa53.blogspot.com/)
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To: Hoosiersailor

Sauerkraut originated in China.


19 posted on 02/15/2008 7:57:49 PM PST by Exit148 (Founder of the Loose Change Club. Every nickle and dime counts!!)
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To: seoul62
I was thisclose to marrying a Cantonese girl several years ago. I know what is done with what and how - I'm sure further elaboration would be redundant. I must say, you find very eclectic ways of utilizing everything at your disposal.


20 posted on 02/15/2008 7:57:59 PM PST by Viking2002 (Waterboarding the Left every chance I get.)
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To: chadwimc
Kimchi is a fermented spicy pickled Chinese-type cabbage. It's chopped thick, not shredded like kraut, and tastes much different. Like many spicy Korean foods, it is meant to be eaten as a condiment to plain rice.

We often complain that our over consumption of Chinese products hurts our economy, but it's a two way street. They really need us to continue buying, or their economy would tank.
21 posted on 02/15/2008 7:59:58 PM PST by keats5 (tolerance of intolerant people is cultural suicide)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Come in.

Have a seat.

Would you like to have some kimchi while I wok the dog?

22 posted on 02/15/2008 8:05:39 PM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't drive, can't fly, can't ski, can't skipper a boat; but they know what's best for us)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

If it’s not too late, I think he’s from Ohio.


23 posted on 02/15/2008 8:07:58 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: Larry Lucido
How do the parasites survive the pickling and hot peppers? Must be some damned hardy parasites!

Any parasite hardy enough to survive kimchi I would invite with honor into my lower digestive tract.

24 posted on 02/15/2008 8:09:10 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: Octar

It’s actually very good and very good for you. It is full of Vitamin C & other vitamins & minerals. They say it prevents colds and flu. People in Korea often eat it at every meal.
My husband probably would if he could. It goes on everything, including hot dogs.
Some is made from cabbage, but other types are radish, made from giant white radishes, or shredded radish, which is a bit different & a bit sweet.
It can also be made with bean sprouts.
My husband has made & eaten some with entire habaneros in it that have been spun up in a blender. Ouch.
The type we buy locally (Colorado) is made at the Korean grocery store down the street. I mean to try it myself sometime, but I’m always too busy to figure it out.
Try it. It’s so good for you!


25 posted on 02/15/2008 8:09:18 PM PST by mountainbunny
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Why are they complaining? Korea is going to be a Chinese vassal-state before too long anyway. Get used to it.


26 posted on 02/15/2008 8:13:57 PM PST by PGR88
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To: Octar

No offense taken at all. My taste is traditional american: Pot Roast and Chipped Beef, it that I was irked because my Mother who is Asian eats kimchi. My Late Father*-(American of Irish descent)* taste in food was traditional american. My Mother hardly ate the food that she prepared for the family meals-*(traditional american was too strange for her.)*/Just Asking - seoul62.......


27 posted on 02/15/2008 8:19:06 PM PST by seoul62
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To: Octar

“People eat this crap?”

Yes, and it’s excellent. I wasn’t sure about it the first time I tried it. Second tme I liked it better. Now I love it. It’s also good for you, excepting the rather large quantities of salt it contains, like any naturally fermented pickled product.


28 posted on 02/15/2008 8:29:40 PM PST by -YYZ- (Strong like bull, smart like ox.)
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To: Yardstick
I'm not a parasitologist (my brother is), but I believe there are parasites that encyst in a shell that will only dissolve in the human digestive tract. I would also avoid all raw fish.

When I was a soldier in Korea many years ago, I knew a number of Koreans that suffered stomach ailments.

If I remember correctly, kimchi's made by pressing layers of cabbage or sliced daikon, hot red peppers, and garlic between layers of salt in a large earthenware pot with a lid. The salt extracts the water from and pickles the vegetables.
29 posted on 02/15/2008 8:35:19 PM PST by Hiddigeigei (Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder. [Arnold Toynbee])
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To: Octar

It tastes good.....think about broccoli, it stinks and we still eat it.


30 posted on 02/15/2008 8:51:49 PM PST by ThisLittleLightofMine
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I just flew into Korea last night after being gone 14 year and ate at nice resturant (with real Korean Kimche) called Hae Song Garden near the airport. I’ve had the Chinese stuff before and say to those that if you’re gonna do Kimche, do the real thing and get it in South Korea!


31 posted on 02/15/2008 11:54:43 PM PST by Jumper
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To: Jumper

Agreed.


32 posted on 02/15/2008 11:59:25 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: beaversmom

Thanks for the ping. I have noticed an increase in the “made in china” label at my local Korean grocery store here in the North Bay. I make sure the stuff I buy there is made in either Korea, Taiwan or Japan, anywhere but China.


33 posted on 02/16/2008 8:59:52 AM PST by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one recipe at a time http://www.youtube.com/Tamar1973)
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To: doc1019
Kimshi = Coleslaw with an attitude. ;-)

Fire Breathing bowser

Yep! LOL!

34 posted on 02/16/2008 9:00:46 AM PST by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one recipe at a time http://www.youtube.com/Tamar1973)
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To: mountainbunny
My husband probably would if he could. It goes on everything, including hot dogs.

And pizza.

Chuncheon- style Kimchi Pizza

35 posted on 02/16/2008 9:06:50 AM PST by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one recipe at a time http://www.youtube.com/Tamar1973)
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To: seoul62

WOW! I have a similar experience...
My mom rarely ate what she prepared for us, too. She’s Korean and always said she had to make 2 dinners every night. One for my dad and his “traditional” tastes and one for us (us girls preferred the Korean menu). When we were kids, she would have a bowl of water to “wash” the red stuff off the kimchi before we acquired a taste for the hot stuff. Now we can’t live without it. I have a refrigerator in the garage just for the kimchi:)


36 posted on 02/17/2008 5:40:24 AM PST by LibertyGrrrl (http://www.myspace.com/unitedforceshc)
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To: LibertyGrrrl
I have a refrigerator in the garage just for the kimchi:)

In Korea, they sell kimchi refrigerators. I'm not that addicted yet. LOL!

37 posted on 02/17/2008 4:05:16 PM PST by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one recipe at a time http://www.youtube.com/Tamar1973)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Despite recent stories about the quality of food from China, not all of it can be health-threatening or low quality, Han said. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I dunno, the Chinese seem pretty thorough about anything they do...

38 posted on 04/17/2008 1:41:15 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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