February 22, 2024

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South Korea Designates Sodium Nitrite in Processed Meats as Suicide Hazard

South Korea Designates Sodium Nitrite in Processed Meats as Suicide Hazard



South Korea Designates Sodium Nitrite in Processed Meats as Suicide Hazard

South Korean Government Designates Additive “Sodium Nitrite” in Ham and Sausages as a Hazardous Substance for Suicide.

“Sodium nitrite,” primarily used as a preservative and coloring agent in processed meats such as ham, has been designated as a “hazardous substance for suicide.”\

This decision comes in response to recent instances of sodium nitrite being misused as a means of suicide.

 

South Korea Designates Sodium Nitrite in Processed Meats as Suicide Hazard

 

On December 18th, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced plans to amend notifications related to hazardous substances for suicide, adding substances like sodium nitrite that induce poisoning effects through “undesignated detoxifiers and chelating agents.”

Sodium nitrite is commonly used to inhibit the growth of foodborne bacteria in processed meat products, as well as for its antioxidative and flavor-enhancing effects.

It has been added in minute quantities to processed meat products worldwide for many years, adhering to strict standards set by the National Institute of Food and Drug Safety.

 

Under the proposed amendment, the Ministry clarified that sodium nitrite would only be restricted when included in items circulating as “suicidal drugs,” “euthanasia drugs,” or “suicide kits.”

 

An official from the Ministry of Welfare explained, “While sodium nitrite is sometimes circulated separately overseas, it is permissible to consume it when added to food, following domestic standards.” According to the ministry, suicides related to sodium nitrite dependence increased from zero in 2017 to 46 in 2021.

Recently, sodium nitrite has been reported as a new method of suicide in countries like Australia and Japan. Ingesting just 4 to 6 grams of sodium nitrite can pose a risk of fatality.

 

For substances designated as hazardous for suicide, disseminating them through information and communication networks with the intent of inducing suicide may lead to criminal penalties, including imprisonment for up to two years or fines of up to 20 million won (about US$15,378) .

In cases where explicit suicidal intentions, such as purchasing or expressing the intent to purchase hazardous substances for suicide online, are evident, emergency assistance will be coordinated through the police and fire departments to prevent self-harm.

Notifications related to hazardous substances for suicide were enacted in January 2020 to regulate substances frequently used or at risk of being used as a means of suicide. The proposed amendment will be finalized after deliberation and approval by the Suicide Prevention Policy Committee chaired by the Prime Minister.

South Korea Designates Sodium Nitrite in Processed Meats as Suicide Hazard


References:

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/4e92d9ad6f36cdd31945b4f0f0a3174087e83dc1

(source:internet, reference only)

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