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Quarantine stops over 4,000 pest-infested plants in 2013

South Korea's inspection and quarantine of imported plants successfully prevented the inflow of over 4,000 shipments of pest-infested plants last year, the government said Tuesday.

In 2013, the country inspected some 3.5 million samples of imported plants to discover 7,506 of them were infested with insects, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Some 4,400 of them, infested with 368 types of pests that are required to be quarantined, have either been destroyed or returned to their countries of origin.

The rest were allowed into the country after they were found to only carry insects that are not required to be quarantined, the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency said.

The number and frequency of harmful pests being detected has been rising due to an increase in the sheer amount of imports following the implementation of various free trade agreements the country has signed, it said.

"Preventing the inflow of harmful pests from overseas surely requires efforts by health and quarantine authorities, but it also requires special attention and care from importers, and most of all, a heightened public awareness," the agency said. (Yonhap News)