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Consumers need to check sugar content when purchasing beverages for children 2018-05-18

Consumers need to check sugar content when purchasing beverages for children

- All the products tested were acidic, and excessive intake of such products can have negative effects on teeth -


Price and quality comparison information regarding ‘children’s beverages’ will be provided to consumers through ‘Product Comparison Information’ on www.consumer.go.kr.


Children’s beverages are popular among children because they use famous animated characters or mascots for their product names or packaging, but some consumers are concerned about excessive sugar intake, food additive safety, etc.


The Korea Consumer Agency(KCA) conducted tests and evaluations on the safety and quality of 14 children’s beverages sold in the domestic market in order to give consumers information critical to their purchase decisions.


    The test results revealed that sugar content varied significantly among the products tested, and all tested products were acidic. All tested products met the standards for beverages in the safety of food coloring, preservatives, etc., but one product was recommended by the KCA to improve its labelling. The company manufacturing the product in question accepted the KCA’s recommendation and decided to improve its Nutrition Facts label voluntarily.


The tested products showed a maximum of 4.8-fold difference in their sugar content.


  The amount of sugar contained in the products tested was 5g ~24g, showing a maximum of 4.8-fold difference among the tested products, and sugar content per 100ml was 4.1g~13.1g.


- If a child (a girl aged 6~8) drinks one bottle of beverage containing 24g of sugar, it amounts to 64% of the recommended daily sugar intake through processed foods for children (37.5g), and if the child drinks more than two bottles, it exceeds the recommended sugar limits for children.


- The sugar content per 100ml of the Coca-cola Beverage Company’s‘Minute Maid Qoo Jelly Drink Grape Flavor’was 13.1g, and the Gyeongsan Peach Farming Association’s‘PongDang Fruit Juice Drink Grape Flavor’contained 11.0g of sugar per 100ml, higher than that of cola (10.8g).



All the products tested were acidic.

    The pH levels of the children’s beverages tested ranged between 2.8 and 4.2 (under pH 5.5*), showing that it was preferable to avoid excessive intake of the beverages. Among the tested products, the pH level of the‘Obita to Drink’product of the Hamsoa Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. was similar to that of cola (pH 2.6).


  * (a pH level lower than 5.5) It is known that there is the possibility of causing tooth enamel erosion depending on intake conditions.


The amount of the nutrients highlighted in bold or indicated with enlarged font were not large enough to have health-beneficial effects.

    10 out of 14 tested products highlighted in bold or enlarged one or more nutrients on their Nutrition Facts labels, and the calcium content that most products indicated on their labels amounted to 5%-20% of the recommended daily calcium intake for children (girls aged 6-8).

    As for red ginseng beverages for children, all products were found to contain red ginseng ingredient, but the content of ginsenoside, used as exiting markers of red ginseng, was only 21%-62% of the 2.4mg which is the minimum daily intake level required for having health-beneficial effects.


All the tested products were found to meet safety standards for preservatives, etc.

    The test results for preservatives, tar coloring agents, and microorganisms found that they met the 「Standards and Specifications for Foods」 notified by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.


Some products needed to improve their nutrition labels, etc.

    The measured sodium content of the Erom’s‘Carrie Juice Sweet Apple’was outside the tolerance for the declared content on its Nutrient Facts label, and the‘Carrie Red Ginseng Juice Strawberry & Apple’used an inappropriate term to indicate that the product did not contain any food additives, showing that the company needed to improve their labels.

    ☞ The company, Erom, said that it would improve the labels of the products in question based on the KCA’s recommendations.


Although there were some nutrient differences among the tested products, price differences among such products were big.

    The price per 100ml for fruit flavored drinks ranged from 289 won to 1,490 won, and for red ginseng drinks, it ranged from 242 won to 1,250 won, showing much difference in prices.

    The KCA plans to continue providing its food safety and quality comparison information to help consumers make more informed purchase decisions.

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