"Wasps must not be used like this"

The South Korean government has issued a warning against consuming soju mixed with wasps.

According to the Korea Times, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in South Korea has issued a warning about the dangers of drinking soju mixed with wasps and other insects.

Cocktails of soju and wasps had been gaining popularity on the internet in South Korea. It was believed by some that the concoction was good for their health.

Online posts claim that the wasp-based cocktail provides therapeutic effects for asthma, arthritis, invigoration and impotence.

TV programs had showed people hunting for wasps and mixing them with soju at home.

The ministry said that mixing wasps with soju could result in health risks. It said that wasps, centipedes, earthworms, red ants, snakes and plants like the dictamnus root, rhododendron and monkshood are poisonous and could fatal if mixed with soju.

“People consider the wasp-based soju valuable and make it at home to present as a gift,” the ministry said. “But wasps must not be used like this and the cocktail can be harmful to humans.”

“It is no more than a rumor going around ordinary people that wasps could help restore health,” Kim Seung-hwan, a researcher at the Food and Drug Safety Ministry, told Reuters.

Although an old practice, the ministry felt it needed to intervene after the practice was shared online. “That’s when we felt a need to warn people of the danger before it gets out of control,” Kim said.

South Korea’s special judicial police also said that an illegal wasp-based soju shop in Hwaseong, Seoul, was discovered in February.
 “Isn’t it too obvious that wasps and centipedes aren’t edible?” Kim said.