The Korea Herald


Quarantine checks on farm imports increase

By 황장진

Published : April 12, 2011 - 11:28

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Korea’s quarantine inspections of imported farm produce rose 10 percent on-year in the first quarter mainly due to greater local demand for vegetables and fruits, the government said Tuesday.
The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said import inspections were carried out on 43,793 shipments in the January-March period, compared to 39,746 during the same period a year earlier.
“Unseasonably cold weather and heavy snow hurt vegetable output in the winter months while a drop in fruit production last fall all contributed to higher import demand,” the ministry said.
Imports of fruits and vegetables rose 22 percent and 20 percent from a year earlier, respectively, while those of grain rose 18 percent. Inbound shipments of grapes, oranges and bananas all rose at double-digit rates.
Of all imports checked, 17.3 percent or 7,571 shipments were found to have parasites and other unauthorized substances. Some of these products were decontaminated before being allowed through customs, with others sent back or destroyed.
The ministry, in addition, has been screening imports for radiation since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear station crisis began last month, but no products have been found to be contaminated so far.
Meanwhile, quarantine inspections of outbound shipments fell 8 percent on-year to 14,325 shipments, the ministry said. The drop was attributed to lower domestic production. (Yonhap News)