How many of you grew up with margarine and how many of you check the nutritional facts on the labels? Till this day, you may be still spreading margarine on your toasts, but just because we’ve been eating margarine for a long time, doesn’t mean it’s safe for human consumption.
Recently, the Hong Kong Consumer Council tested 30 brands of butter, margarine, and vegetable oil spreads and discovered that most brands do not accurately present the nutritional facts on the labels.
The organization found that this particular sample – Lupark 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.
The analysis also revealed that 18 brands of margarine actually contain a carcinogenic substance known as glycidol (epoxypropanol). Sunny Meadow Spread With Canola Oil, for instance, contains the highest amount of this cancerous compound.
The organization also noted another finding was that among the lot, 16 margarine brands contain 3-MCPD (3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol), which is suspected to be carcinogenic chemical compound too.
Below is 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 (*)
Doctors are urging consumers to minimize the consumption of the products above to lower the chances of getting cancer since the recommended maximum daily intake of glycidol is not available.
As for 3-MCPD, over-consumption of this chemical compound can damage internal organs as well as the male’s reproductive system.
Although it is unclear whether the analysis done in Hong Kong is applicable to the same brands found in Malaysia, we’ll have to wait for a statement from the Health Ministry.
Stay safe guys, it’s better safe than sorry!