The government’s new rules on genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling on products which will go into effect [February 4] is raising concerns about consumer rights.
First, the new regulation will require all food companies using processed GMO crops to mention that on the product labels. But it will allow an exception which will cover pretty much all cooking oil, soy sauce and corn syrup makers.
The ministry’s logic is this: Unless the final product shows traces of GMOs, GMO labeling is unnecessary.
Consumers and activists have demanded the government change this clause, but big food companies have also long pressured the government to keep it.
According to the ministry, food companies can now label products with crops that are grown naturally as “non-GMO.” But it will not apply to all crops, only six crops which have GMO versions — corn, soybeans, sugar beets, rapeseed, alfalfa and cotton. Rice, for example, is not applicable to this rule because the Korean market has no GMO rice.
Talks on GMOs began in Korea in 1999 when authorities found GMO soybeans were made into tofu and widely sold.
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