South Korea's food safety watchdog said Thursday that it has found parasite eggs in domestically made kimchi, a spicy food made of fermented cabbage and radish that consumed almost every meal by South Koreans.
The (South) Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) announced earlier Thursday that 16 products out of 502 domestic kimchi brands tested were found to contain roundworm eggs.
Those parasite eggs are believed to have come from cats and dogs raised in local farming areas, the watchdog said.
The KFDA said it seized all the contaminated kimchi amounting to 472 kilograms and that it would keep close surveillance on products the 16 small companies will turn out in the future.
South Korean Yonhap News Agency quoted a food industry source, some of kimchi made by those companies have been supplied to major department stores, luxury hotels and local operators of TV home shopping channels.
The KFDA also made tests on a sample of 54 raw materials used for making the tainted kimchi showed that one South Korean cabbage were contaminated with roundworm eggs. No parasite eggs were discovered in imported kimchi materials
In a separate test on 165 brands of South Korean cabbage, eight were found to contain parasite eggs, the watchdog said.
The latest tests came two weeks after the South Korean food safety agency found parasite eggs in some kimchi products imported from China. South Korea has already suspended importing of kimchi from China
Local media widely reported the test result over Chinese kimchi which aroused panic among South Korean consumers.
However, actually, most the kimchi imported from China were made in factories set up by South Korean merchants in China.
South Korea imported some 72,000 ton of kimchi from China in 2004. The figures almost stands one-fourth of the total production capacity of the sidedish by South Korean local companies.