] The import of genetically modified organisms used for food and feed purposes decreased by 5 percent to 9.7 million tons when compared to the previous year’s 12.4 million tons, according to a report by Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology’s Korea Biosafety Clearing House.
The fall has been led by the continuous efforts made in the industry to increase its corn stock. The decrease in the number of livestocks arising from bird flu and food-and-mouth disease has also brought about a drop, the report said.
Meanwhile, the number of GMO’s reported to have been imported for examination and research has reached 3,573 cases, a 65 percent increase from last year’s 2,166 cases.
The number of imports reported by research facilities also increased over the year to 1,249 cases.
Among the GMOs used for food and agriculture, 31 were approved through risk classification.
While none of the GMO’s are cultivated or sold for commercial purposes in the domestic setting, one microorganism and one plant cell received approval in the industrial sector for the first time.
“The global trend is moving toward new genome editing technology CRISPR and active mergers and acquisitions among multinational companies,” said a KRIBB official.
He added, “Korea has gained much attention by pushing forward improvements in policies related to GMO safety.”
In January 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs strengthened its policies on the examination of imported GMOs when 32.5 out of 79.6 ton of rape seeds were brought in from China without their import license.
By Yim Ji-min/The Korea Herald (email@example.com