The importation of genetically modified crops and its environmental impacts in Korea

  • Han, Sung Min ;
  • Kim, Young Tae ;
  • Won, Ok Jae ;
  • Choi, Kyung Hwa ;
  • Rho, Young Hee ;
  • Park, Kee Woong
  • Received : 2016.04.08
  • Accepted : 2016.05.31
  • Published : 2016.06.30


The global cultivation area of genetically modified crops (GM crops) has been increasing every year. Cultivation of GM crops is not only beneficial to the economy but also has positive effects on the environment in decreasing the use of agrochemicals, chemical fertilizers, and agricultural machinery. However, there have been controversies about the admixture of GM crops and non-GM crops and the unintentional release of GM crops to the environment. Especially in Korea, where consumption of agricultural products is import-dependent, the economic importance of GM crops has been a significant issue. The Act on import and distribution of GM crops was established in 2001 to start the management of GM crops in Korea. Recently, the imported amount of GM crops to Korea has reached over 10 million tons and is increasing very rapidly; consequently, the potential environmental impact of GM crops is becoming a big issue in Korea. In Japan, the discovery of imported GM canola plants around ports in 2005 raised awareness of the unintentional release of GM crops. In Korea, GM maize plants were also found in port and feed factory surroundings from 2005 to 2007. It is now necessary to monitor imported GM crops by tracing distribution, transport process for practical environmental risk assessment. Possible gene transfer from GM crops to non-GM crops should also be investigated in the cultivation area and the surroundings as well.


environmental risk assessment;genetically modified crops;monitoring;unintentional release


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