Bacteria causing plague detected in Korean delicacy kimchi exported from China

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Korean delicacy Kimchi
Korean delicacy Kimchi

Seoul [South Korea], May 20 (ANI):A type of bacteria that causes plague has been detected by South Korean food regulators in the delicacy kimchi exported from China.

Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes a rare form of food poisoning known as yersiniosis, was found on 15 kimchi products imported from China out of a sample of 289, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported citing Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that yersiniosis kills 35 people in the US every year. Yersinia pestis, which causes plague, is from the same genus of bacteria.

Symptoms of yersiniosis vary by age but tend to include fever, abdominal pain that can be confused with appendicitis and bloody diarrhoea, especially in children.

The Korean ministry said that future inspections will be carried out when products made by the Chinese companies involved are imported in future, adding that it had ordered importers to send the products back to China or discard them.

Two out of four Chinese salt-cured cabbage products were also found to have used dehydroacetate, a preservative that is not permitted in Korea.

According to SCMP, Korean and Chinese social media users have been embroiled in a series of arguments known as the "kimchi wars" since late last year over the origins of the fermented vegetable dish.

Despite kimchi being often thought as an iconic Korean food, South Korea relies upon imported kimchi to meet about 35 per cent of its demand and reportedly imported some 68,000 tonnes of kimchi from China in the first three months of this year.

Regulators carried out their unscheduled inspections of imported kimchi and kimchi-related ingredients from March 12 to May 7 after footage reportedly showing a cabbage-processing plant in China went viral in South Korea, sparking food safety concerns, SCMP reported.

In the video clips, a half-naked man can be seen wading through a pool of sludge-coloured liquid filled with cabbages as he transfers them into an excavator, while in another footage, men in work boots were seen standing atop the vegetables before the pool.

According to local media, kimchi imports from China fell 31 per cent month on month to 18,000 tonnes in April. (ANI)