New regulations governing the labelling of GM food will be introduced in South Korea on 1 March, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Severe consequences face those retailers who fail to comply with the rules after a six-month guidance period, signifying the importance of the GM issue to South Korean consumers.

An official from the ministry explained: “The government came up with the rule in order to provide consumers with sound information on agricultural products amid the worldwide distribution of GMOs.”

The new regulations require retailers to fully label the packaging material of genetically modified beans, corn and bean sprouts. If the goods are not packaged, then signs are to be placed nearby to alert consumers to their GM content.

Officials at the National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service will be entrusted to police the implementation and observance of the regulations, and 346 supervisory teams are being established to ensure that retailers are not violating the rules.

Any retailer who is investigated and found to be failing to label GMOs adequately will face up to three years imprisonment or a fine between 10m won and 30m won.

This week’s editorial discusses the FDA’s GM labelling policy in the US – to read it click here.