SEOUL — Families in South Korea may find themselves in need of larger refrigerators thanks to a recent increase in commissary spending limits.

Spending limits have been increased by 25 percent for singles and all sizes of families March 1, officials confirmed this week.

The ration limits were boosted because of customer complaints they could not buy enough of what they wanted, said Lt. Col. Robert Hunt, a U.S. Forces Korea J-1 section official.

Limits are now:

$550 for a single person.$850 for a family of two.$1,100 for a family of three.$1,300 for a family of four.$1,500 for a family of five.$1,800 for a family of six.Hunt said control records showed no indication of black marketing, and that shoppers were purchasing more expensive items such as organic foods, choice cuts of meat and name-brand products.

“Maybe some people want to eat organic foods, or choose not to eat out,” Hunt said. “The point … of ration control is not to keep people from doing that. It’s to prevent black marketing. And we have software to help track what people are buying, so a spending limit increase doesn’t help black marketers.”

Hunt said research had shown that spending limits in the commissary had not increased since 2000.

Using the consumer price index, which Hunt said is a reliable indicator of current prices, personnel determined inflation had increased 23 percent since the last spending limit increase.

Hunt’s office rounded the number to 25 percent and took the recommendation for a spending limit increase to U.S. Forces Korea chief of staff and 8th Army commander, Lt. Gen. David Valcourt, who gave his approval.

Hunt said the entire process from research to approval took about a month.

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