Fast food joints are trimming the trans fat: survey
The nation’s fast food chains are going health-conscious and decreasing their use of trans fat, according to the Korea Food and Drug Association.
A survey conducted by the KFDA in October showed a drastic drop in trans fat coating French fries. An average of about 0.1 gram of trans fat was found in 100 grams of French fries, a 1.1 gram decrease from the 1.2 gram average recorded in May. McDonald’s Korea and Lotteria were found to contain no trans fat, while Burger King, KFC and Popeye’s had 0.1 gram of trans fat per 100 grams of French fries.
The KFDA considers less than 0.2 gram of trans fat per serving to be the same as zero trans fat.
As trans fat has become a global health issue, the KFDA and domestic fast food chains have been trying to cut down on its use.
Trans fat, or unsaturated fat with trans isomer fatty acids, is artificially produced by hydrogenating plant oils. It is widely used in processed foods in order to extend shelf life and make food crispier and tastier. However, consumption of trans fats carries many health risks such as coronary heart disease.
Domestic fast food chains have come under fire for excessive use of trans fat, but they have been working to meet the KFDA goal since the central government announced it would introduce compulsory trans fat labeling starting Dec. 1.
Along with the decrease of trans fat, the KFDA also noted a decrease in saturated fat. About 3.7 grams of saturated fat were found per 100 grams of fast food, a 47 percent decrease from last year. It means the quality of oil used by fast food chains has improved.
“We’ve removed shortening from all of our products in an attempt to make healthier food,” said an official from Popeye’s. Other fast food makers also said they have replaced margarine and hydrogenated oil, which contain a high amount of trans fats.
Despite the potential health threats posed by trans fat, fast food makers denied any drop in sales.
By Sung So-young Staff Writer