The Korea Herald


Packed meals’ salt levels need to be cut, consumer watchdog says

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Jan. 13, 2021 - 18:40

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Packed meals sold at convenience stores contain 68 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake, the Korea Consumer Agency said Wednesday.

The agency’s report showed that the average amount of sodium found in 25 types of different packed meals -- also known as “dosirak” in Korean -- at major convenience store chains was measured at 1,361 milligrams.

South Korea’s recommended daily sodium intake for adults is 2,000 milligrams.

One of the packed meals had 2,433 milligrams of sodium, or 22 percent above the recommended daily intake. The manufacturer in question then cut down the amount of sodium to 1,137 milligrams after the Korea Consumer Agency had raised the issue.

Although sodium is important for controlling the body’s water percentage and the blood’s acid-base balance, the report warned against consuming excessive amounts of sodium as it can lead to cardiovascular or kidney diseases, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.

The average calories of the 25 packed meals was 716, which is about 35 percent of the recommended daily intake. The average amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat were measured at 36 percent, 50 percent and 44 percent of the recommended daily intake, respectively.

While the packed meals contain enough nutrients for a regular meal, the Korea Consumer Agency said, the companies should focus on bringing down their salt levels.

The agency also advised consumers to check the nutrition facts label before buying a packed meal.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (