China Claims Victory in Kimchi Wars

  • By Lee Sung-hoon, Lee Beul-chan

    November 30, 2020 13:56

    In its latest bid for world domination, China has had its own version of kimchi certified with the International Organization for Standardization.

    That at any rate is how the propaganda rag Global Times understands it, crowing that Chinese kimchi has become the "standard" for the international market and Korea has been put to shame.

    What is true is that there is a spicy pickled cabbage dish from Sichuan that is quite similar to kimchi.

    Meishan in Sichuan province, the center of the industry, has been pushing the dish since 2017. But the ISO, established in 1947, essentially certifies things like proper filing and hygiene practices in various businesses and has nothing to do with food standards.

    kimchi (left) and paocai

    "The international standards for food products that are globally exported these days are BRC (British Retail Consortium) or FSSC22000 (Food Safety System Certification)," an industry insider here said, "and Korean kimchi has already been registered as the international standard in 2001 under the Codex Alimentarius."

    Codex is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice and guidelines, related to food, food production and safety under the Food Standards Programme by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization.

    The Chinese production facilities that have been ISO certified at any rate make paocai, an enjoyable dish in its own right but hardly a mortal challenge.

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