Korean food makers to cut trans fats, say officials
even eliminating the use of trans fats by the end of 2008,
according to a report.
In a meeting tomorrow morning, Moon Chang-jin, head of the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), plans to request that food producers reduce or eliminate trans fats from their products, government officials told the Yonhap news agency. Trans fats are produced when liquid vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated or 'hardened' for use as spreads such as margarine, cooking fats for deep-frying and shortening for baking. The fats have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease as they raise blood cholesterol levels. Media coverage of a ban on trans fats in New York restaurants has prompted other food agencies around the world to evaluate ways of reducing their content in foods. Australia recently announced a plan to cut trans fats in its foods and the KFDA appears to be following a similar move. The report said that the KFDA is considering giving subsidies to food makers that voluntarily cut down on trans-fat usage. Many South Korean companies are however already planning to replace trans fats with healthier vegetable oil. A recent KFDA survey found that trans-fat levels in South Korean biscuits and snacks was 50 per cent lower in October at 0.1-3.5 grams compared with last year and in 2004. The food safety body plans to require companies to disclose any hazardous contents in their products that can lead to diseases such as obesity and diabetes by December 2008, the officials added.