Kimchi exports on the rise

By Hridyesh Pandey

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: South korea

South Korean kimchi exports have jumped in the first 10 months of
the year, after the media reported it may have a preventative
effect against avian influenza.

Kimchi is a side dish made of fermented vegetables and spices that is eaten with almost every meal in South Korea.

In February, a team at Seoul National University reported that an extract of the dish helped 11 out of 13 chickens recover from bird flu. The news prompted many people to start consuming kimchi in a bid to protect themselves from the disease, even though the findings have not yet been tested in humans.

Research leader Professor Sa-ouk Kang told AP-Foodtechnology.com that he has not yet tested the bacteria on bird flu in humans. In a lab experiment, however, it did show a "very potent effect" against human flu.

Nevertheless Korea's ministry of agriculture says that exports of the dish have risen by 226 tons from a year earlier to 28,380 tons in the January-October period.

Taiwan imported 561 tons of kimchi during the same period, up 72 per cent, while the exports to Hong Kong and Malaysia increased 15 per cent and 150 per cent, respectively, according to YONHAP news.

Shipments to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia have also benefitted from the popularity of Korean dramas featuring traditional Korean food.

Bird flu, previously limited to southeast Asia, was found among migratory birds in China, Russia and other northern Asian countries this summer. This week China reported its first human deaths from the disease, raising fears of a human pandemic.

The virus has already killed more than 60 people across Asia.

Related topics: Markets, Traditional and staple foods

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