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Parasite Eggs Found in Chinese Kimchi

Posted October. 22, 2005 10:29,   


Parasite eggs have been found in Kimchi imported from China.

On October 21, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on the Internet that out of 16 Chinese Kimchi samples, nine were found to contain eggs of parasites such as trichostrongylus orientalis and isospora belli.

In all 34 kimchi samples, 16 Chinese and 18 Korean, sold October 19 and 20, were examined. So far, eight Korean kimchi products have been examined and parasite eggs have not been found in them.

A KFDA official said, “By coordinating with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, we have withheld customs clearance for all Chinese kimchi. After examining all imported kimchi, we will only permit the ones that are safe to eat.”

Human Manure is Cause—

Currently, about 230 types of kimchi imported from China are being sold in Korea. Out of these products, some are produced in China and sold under a Korean brand name.

The roundworm, hookworm, and trichostrongylus orientalis eggs are parasite eggs that live in soil, and it is speculated that they came from feces or contaminated water, and stayed in the soil until they stuck to Chinese cabbage leaves. Since China uses more human manure than chemical fertilizers, experts think that this is the main reason for the existence of the parasites.

Roundworms grow up to 10 to 15 cm, while hookworms and trichostrongylus orientalis grow up to about 1cm, and they look like threads. Isospora belli are virtually invisible to the naked eye, and are reported not to be of great harm to the human body.

Ehwa Womans University Medical School Parasitology Professor Yang Hyun-jong said, “When contaminated by such worms there is no great harm, but you can have intestinal problems such as stomachaches and vomiting. In particular, when infected with hookworms, you might get anemia.”

We won’t touch kimchi served in restaurants—

Civilians and Internet users expressed their strong discontent, saying that they could no longer eat kimchi outside their homes. In addition, they criticized the government for neglecting food supervision, and showed explicit anti-Chinese sentiment.

An Internet user wrote in a portal site, “Since there is no way to find out whether the kimchi served in the restaurant is Chinese or Korean, the only thing to do is not eat it.”

In particular, with kimchi-making season ahead and this parasite incident in the news, it is expected the number of households making their own kimchi will increase.

Ms. Lee of Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, said, “I am busy because I have a job, so I usually bought kimchi, but since Chinese kimchi has worms in it, now I can only make my own.”

Some Internet users did not hesitate being explicit in criticizing China. They called for a halt to trade with China immediately, a boycott of Chinese goods, and used crude insults.

Office worker Kim claimed, “After lead, and now parasites, I don’t have anything else to say. We should officially protest to China and receive an apology from them.”

Seoul National University Food and Nutrition Department Professor Gwon Hoon-jeong said, “Eating parasite containing Kimchi for a long period will give you trouble, but since you don’t eat the same Kimchi for a long time, you don’t need to have excessive fears.”

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com mint4a@donga.com