Just because we’ve been eating it for a long time doesn’t mean it’s safe for human consumption.
The Hong Kong Consumer Council has recently tested 30 brands of butter, margarine, and vegetable oil spreads, and it was discovered that most brands do not accurately present the nutritional facts on the labels.
For instance, the organisation found that this particular sample – Lurpak Slightly Salted Organic Spreadable Butter Blended With Vegetable Oil contains 410mg of sodium per 100g, which is 10 times more than the maximum amount allowed.
Besides, the analysis also revealed that 18 brands of margarine actually contain a carcinogenic substance known as glycidol (epoxypropanol), and that Sunny Meadow Spread With Canola Oil contains the highest amount of this cancerous compound.
Another finding was that among the lot, 16 margarine brands contain 3-MCPD (3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol), which is suspected to be a carcinogenic chemical compound too.
Here’s the full list of products that were found to contain glycidol, based on the analysis’ findings. Items marked with * means they contain 3-MCPD as well.
- MeadowLea Original Vegetable Fat Spread
- Olive Grove Classic Mild Tasting 65% Less Saturated Fat Than Butter Edible Oil Spread / Fat Spread (*)
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Light Vegetable Oil Spread (*)
- Sainsbury’s Lighter Butterlicious Made with Butter Milk (*)
- Flora Light Spread (*)
- Meiji Smooth and Soft (*)
- Snow Brand Neo Soft Spread (*)
- Flora Original Spread (*)
- M&S Reduced Fat Olive Oil Spread Made Using Olive Oil (*)
- Essential Waitrose Olive Spread- Reduced Fat Spread (45%) (*)
- Belle Premium Vegetable Fat Spread Made With Sunflower Oil (*)
- Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread (*)
- Tesco Sunflower Spread (*)
- Sunny Meadow Spread With Canola Oil (*)
- Lurpak Slightly Salted Organic Spreadable Butter Blended With Vegetable Oil
- President Ambassador Salted Culinary Fat Blend (*)
- Copha Vegetable Shortening Made With Coconut Oil (*)
- Tablelands Butter Spread With Plant Sterols (*)
Since the recommended maximum daily intake of glycidol is not available, doctors are urging consumers to minimise the consumption of it, so that your chances of getting cancer can be lowered as well.
As for 3-MCPD, over consumption of this chemical compound can damage internal organs as well as the male’s reproductive system. Take note guys!
Many Malaysian netizens were stunned after reading this as they’ve been consuming some of these brands ever since they were little kids.
[Update] The Ministry of Health (MOH) has since issued a statement on 20 April saying that the Food Safety and Quality Division has been monitoring the glycidyl esters (GE) and 3-MCPD esters contents in a few margarine products in Malaysia.
The findings revealed that Malaysians are exposed to a relatively small amount of these substances through their margarine intake and therefore are not subjected to any health risk.
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