South Korean Pork Sales Jump on Concerns over Fine Dust

SOUTH KOREA - The nation has been hit by ultrafine dust originating in China over the past few weeks. People are concerned about associated health risks but pork is thought to offer protection from the heavily polluted air and sales are booming.
calendar icon 3 March 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

The Korea Times reports that according to major supermarket chains, sales of samgyepsal or sliced pork belly have jumped drastically after a series of warnings against the worst-ever levels of ultrafine dust.

The robust sales are due to a belief held among the public that elements in the greasy pork slices absorb dust away from the respiratory organs and help the body excrete any accumulations of the dust.

For example, the nation’s largest supermarket chain e-mart said that pork sales jumped by 48.3 per cent between 14 and 27 February, when the worst levels of ultrafine dust blanketed the country, compared to the same period last year. In comparison, sales of overall livestock products only jumped by 12.5 per cent in the cited period.

Sales of pork peaked suddenly as health authorities warned that toxic particles carried by winds from China could cause and exacerbate respiratory problems such as asthma and contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

Although the benefits of eating pork to help respiratory organs is nothing but a myth without any scientific proof, large numbers of people believe there are health benefits because it is known that miners used to enjoy eating pork after working underground.

Along with pork, sales of pears also jumped by 19.2 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively, in the cited period, because they are also known to be good for respiratory organs.

“As clouds of ultrafine dust became more intense, sales of pork, pears and balloon flower roots have drastically jumped as well as protective cotton masks,” said an official from e-mart.

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