Organic Labeling in South Korea
If you’ve wondered how to identify organic goods from the grocery, check for the little coloured apple in the corner.
Korea’s organic food is regulated by the National Agriculture Products Quality Management Service (NAQS) as well as the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA). Although NAQS was the only agency allowed to certify farmers, now the Korean Organic Farmers Association as well as a handful of other non-governmental parties certify farms.
Most Homeplus stores, E-marts and Lotte department stores carry companies like Pulmone and other organic produce, usually in a special section.
If you’re lucky enough to live in the central Seoul area, this new site delivers organic fruits and vegetables to your door. And the whole site is in English.
Then there’s iCoop, a cooperative of Korean farmers and producers who sell sustainable, local organic food. The food is cheaper than that of large grocery stores and they offer free delivery. Huckleberry’s is an organic grocery store that specializes in organic food, including pesticide-free, non-GMO and cage-free options, offering a selecting of imported goods too.
As with many organic markets around the world, the problem lies in the definition of “organic”. According to an article by Chong-Woon Hong, who is part of the Agricultural Science Institute in South Korea, ’there is no precise consensus on the definition of organic farming in Korea. Ultimately, the broad definition focuses on the use of organic materials rather than chemicals and fertilizers.’
So it would appear that organic produce and products are not always 100 percent organic. However, eating Korean organic appears to be better than the alternative, eating potentially cancerous causing produce and contributing to pesticides and pollutants in the environment.