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Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 10:19 UK

N Korea 'develops special noodle'

A bowl of noodles (file image)
North Korea does not produce enough food to feed its population

North Korean scientists have developed a new kind of noodle that delays feelings of hunger, a Japan-based pro-Pyongyang newspaper has reported.

The noodles were made from corn and soybeans, the Choson Shinbo said.

They left people feeling fuller longer and represented a technological breakthrough, the newspaper said.

North Korea is dependent on foreign food aid. Last month the UN warned that residents were experiencing their worst food shortages in a decade.

But the communist country remains reluctant to allow experts to fully assess the scale of the problem or give them adequate access to deliver aid.

UN warnings

According to the newspaper, which is seen as closely linked to the Pyongyang leadership, the new noodles have twice as much protein and fives times as much fat as ordinary noodles.

"When you consume ordinary noodles (made from wheat or corn), you may soon feel your stomach empty. But this soybean noodle delays such a feeling of hunger," it said on its website.

The noodles would be available soon across North Korea, the newspaper said.

An estimated one million people starved to death in North Korea in the late 1990s after natural disasters and government mismanagement devastated the country's economy.

In July, the World Food Programme warned that six million people were in urgent need of food aid, following severe flooding last year.

Most households had cut their food intake and more people are scavenging for wild foods, WFP assessors found.




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