Trans fat labelling in Korea

January 25, 2007

Little known to most of us, South Korea, too, has made trans fat labelling compulsory. The legislation was passed in September 2006 and will take effect in December this year.


So it is not true that the US and Canada are the only countries that have introduced trans fat labelling. There could be others too that we do not yet know about.


What I found interesting is the fact that South Korea introduced trans fat labelling even though the average Korean consumption of trans fats is presently very low, at just 0.18 grams per day for adults. This works out to, I believe, just 0.1 percent of total calories.


Despite this low figure, the Koreans have found it necessary to take action.


In sharp contrast, Singapore’s health authorities keep harping on the fact that our trans fat consumption is below the WHO recommendation of 1 percent, and so there is no need for strong measures.


Also intersting was a study in Korea which found that young people take about 2 to 3 times as much trans fats as adults. For children between five and nine, it was 0.36 grams, double the adult intake. Teenagers between 13 and 19 have the highest intake, at 0.48 grams, nearly three times the adult intake.


It means that the next generation of Koreans will suffer a lot more trans fat-related health problems if no action is taken now.


What is the situation here? Do the Health Promotion Board and other health authorities know? Do they care?


Or do they still believe that trans fats is “a small problem”?


And must we wait till it becomes a big problem before we take action. Whatever happened to the “let’s nip it in the bud” approach that our government typically adopts with regards other issues?




One comment

  1. […] Even today, countries like Korea have low rates of heart disease and cancer, despite the population eating plenty of beef – all that red meat, saturated fats and cholesterol! Because in places like Korea, the consumption of trans fats and other modern foods is still very low.  Click here to learn more. […]

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