KBCH Releases Annual LMO Statistics of Korea(2010)
March 27, 2011
The Korea Biosafety Clearing House is an organization specialized in the collection, management and sharing of information on living modified organisms. Based on Article 32 of the LMO Act, it has been involved in the compilation of data regarding living modified organisms from institutions in the industry. Each year, it announces the Annual LMO Statistics based on its collected resources.
□ (Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Living Modified Organisms Act) The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Living Modified Organisms Act have been effective in Korea since January 2008.
□ (R&D) As of the end of 2010, 1,654 LMO research institutions have reported to be in operation, with 23 highly rated research facilities having passed strict approval standards.
ㅇ LMOs imported for experimentation and research purposes in 2010 totaled 201, consisting of rats, soybeans and rice. The amount of imports is on the rise, most products being imported by universities and private companies.
ㅇ Reported or authorized research facilities are conducting a wide variety of research on LMOs, with 77 tests involving the release of GM crops into the environment currently being implemented after acquiring approval from the relevant authority.
□ (Risk Assessment) In 2010, 2 bean species, 8 maize species and 1 cotton species have been approved through risk assessment, to be used as food, feed or processing. The total amount of GM crops that have been approved for import into the country are 7, consisting of 76 species.
ㅇ Approved crops include 5 bean species, 39 maize species, 14 cotton species, 8 potato species, 6 canola species, 3 alfalfa species and 1 sugar beet species.
ㅇ While potatoes have been approved, commercialization of all other products have been suspended. Some items among maize and cotton have also been blocked from entering the country.
□ (Import Approval) During the year of 2010, USD 2.1 billion (8.49 million tonnes) of agricultural goods such as beans, maize and cotton with LMO components were approved for import into the country. This was a 16.5% increase from 2009.
ㅇ USD 390 million (920,000 tonnes) worth of beans attained import approval, and was used mostly for production of vegetable oil.
ㅇ USD 1.7 billion (7.44 million tonnes) worth of maize attained import approval, and was used for production of feed, starch and starch sugar. In the case of maize for food and processing use, imports increased twofold from 2009.
□ (GM Crop Cultivation) Domestically, no GM crops are being grown commercially, with the exception of field trials for environmental release.
□ (LMO Perception) According to the results of the perception survey held by KBCH in November 2010 of 1,000 male and female adults nationwide, people of South Korea gain information on LMOs mostly through the media, such as TV, Internet or newspapers. The level of LMO awareness was almost identical to the previous year.
ㅇ To the question on where people receive information on LMOs, 87.2% responded “TV”, 33.1% responded “the Internet”, 32.3% responded “newspapers”, and 21% responded “other people”.(multiple responses)
ㅇ Approximately 76.5% of total respondents were aware of GMOs, but had a relatively low level of knowledge on the topic.
ㅇ Respondents’ understanding of biotechnology was quite high, with 74% knowledgeable of child gender selection, 65.9% understanding GM technology, and 63.5% aware of cloning technology. However, the level of understanding of current domestic LMO trends was generally low, such as of the LMO marking system (42.7%), risk screening practices (40.2%), and commercial cultivation (35%).
※ KBCH also plans to compile and distribute a booklet containing “FAQs on LMOs” in April, which contains information such as basic statistics, terminology, general trends, safety maintenance laws and regulations, etc.