Genetically modified beans have been found at Korean farms for the first time, a group of scientists said. The group, led by Professor Park Won-mok of Korea University, said they found 10 altered genes in 3,000 bean leaves after inspecting growing beans in Kyonggi and South Chungchong Provinces last summer. The group believe the beans found are imports and most likely to be of foreign origin.

The presence of the modified beans have been blamed on the Rural Development Administration, which inspects agricultural imports, for failing to detect genetic modifications because of inadequate detection methods, and on farmers who obtained the genetically altered seeds on their own initiative. An agricultural specialist said some farmers use foreign seeds, believing they can increase yields.

Korean scientists believe a comprehensive system to inspect agricultural imports is needed before the government starts to label GMOs sold in consumer markets in March. Korean law allows only the government to sell seeds for major grains, including corn and beans, but seeds from other groups reportedly are widely available in the black market.