Korea: Imported ingredients contain a lot of trans fat

Seoul / KR. (yhn) Imported baking mixtures and half-made pastries contain ten times more trans fat on average than those made with local ingredients, a Korean government report says.

The findings based on the screening of 183 different pastries made by 27 large-scale bakeries in May and July, showed trans fat in foreign ingredients standing at around three grams per 100 grams of baking materials, the Korea Food and Drug Administration said.

Large scale bakeries such as Shilla Bakery, Tous Les Jours and Paris Baguette were checked in the latest screening, «YonHap News» writes. The finding is far higher than the average of 0,3 grams found in breads, cookies and cakes baked with local ingredients.

Trans fats, a type of fat found in some fast foods, cakes, popcorns and biscuits, is considered harmful to human health and is believed to increase heart disease. The food safety agency attributed the lower trans fat levels of local ingredients to concerted efforts to cut back on the fat in the past few years. In 2005, the average content of trans fat found in locally made bread stood at 1,7 grams.

The Korean government has encouraged the use of butter instead of margarine as well as switching to vegetable based oils for deep-fried products. Related to the results of the market screening, the government administration said there is a need to better monitor imported ingredients.

Seoul started screening food for trans fat in 2004 and plans to increase the number of products that must have trans-fat content labels in the coming years. From 2010 the government plans to make it mandatory for fast food eateries to label trans-fat content levels (Source).