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Video of cabbage processor in China goes viral in South Korea

A Chinese video showing men standing in a pool of pickled cabbage is raising food safety concerns in South Korea. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/07167eb4e149d745da24e7eb76b26a0b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A Chinese video showing men standing in a pool of pickled cabbage is raising food safety concerns in South Korea. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 11 (UPI) -- Footage of a cabbage processing plant in China is gaining mass attention in South Korea and triggering concerns over food safety.

Video clips of the factory at an unidentified location show workers standing inside an area with pickled Napa cabbage floating in sludge-colored water.

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The men wading through the cabbages are seen without protective gear while bearing their naked torsos. Others are seen walking through the pool with their shoes on.

Heads of cabbage are shown being transferred out of the pool to another location through a rusty duct, South Korean network JTBC reported.

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The pool was created after workers dug an outdoor pit and covered it with vinyl, according to Yonhap.

Videos originally appeared on South Korean social media platforms in June 2020, but did not gain widespread attention until Sunday. The original footage was uploaded to Chinese social media platform Weibo and may have been deleted, reports said.

South Korea imports factory-made kimchi from China. The volume of imports has grown over the decades. Kimchi is a spicy cabbage dish of Korean origin, but many South Korean companies have outsourced production to China, citing costs.

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Chinese state media previously has claimed South Korea imports at least 80% of its ready-to-eat kimchi from China.

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China may be responding to rising food safety concerns in Korea.

A South Korean diplomatic source in China told Yonhap the cabbage processing plant in the footage does not prepare foods for export, citing an alleged conversation with China's General Administration of Customs.

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"Cabbage for kimchi must be pickled for 24 hours in a refrigerated condition," Yonhap's source said. "Representatives of [South Korean] manufacturers also have said the video shows a plant that is not part of the kimchi production process."

China and South Korea have sparred over the origins of kimchi. South Korean activists have said China is attempting to appropriate Korean culture. Beijing's state media have refuted the claims.

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