The Health and Welfare Ministry plans to require that all genetically modified foods be examined to keep unauthorized products out of the market, ministry sources said Wednesday.

Currently, importers voluntarily examine and evaluate the safety of such products by following nonbinding ministry guidelines and submit the data to the ministry.

The test results are re-
examined by the ministry’s Food Sanitation Investigation Council.

The ministry has confirmed the safety of 22 genetically modified products, including soybeans and corn, as well as six food additives.

Strong ministry directives have compelled all food importers to examine their products, but it is up to individual firms whether they submit to quality inspections, officials said.

Some experts have expressed concern that without safety checks, genetically modified products may enter the consumer market.

In July, a citizens’ group said it had found that genetically modified corn that had not been checked was used in a snack. The ministry has been studying the case.

Growing consumer concerns over genetically modified food have prompted members of the council’s biotechnology section to conclude the need to revise the current inspection system, the sources said.

The council will map out specific measures for safety tests and penalties for violators, they said.

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