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Want to live 100 years in good health--and beyond? Drink soybean milk!So says Dr. Chung, founder of Dr. Chung’s Food

▲Photo shows Dr. Chai-won Chung (3rd from left, front row), founding chairman of Dr. Chung’s Food, taken on the occasion of presentation of the Hyechun Scholarships to meritorious students on May 26, 2016. Seated on his right facing the camera is President and CEO Soon-goo Lee of Dr. Chung’s Food.

By Lee Kyung-sik

Publisher of The Korea Post

Do you want to celebrate your 100th birthday in good health? Of course you do. Years ago I met with Dr. Chai-won Chung, the founding chairman of Dr. Chung’s Food, better known for the popular ‘Vegimil’ which is soybean milk developed by him.

Today Vegimil accounts for 48.6% of the total volume of vegetable milk sales in the entire Republic of Korea with its annual turnout totaling some 178.8 billion won (160 million dollar).

The soybean milk is consumed in large quantities not only in Korea but also in many other countries of the world, including some 15 in Asia, Europe, West Africa and the Middle East.

Asked what made Vegemil so popular in the world as well as in Korea, Dr. Chung said, “I would say honesty on the part of the people who make it and the safety we have in mind for the consumers.”

The founding philosophy of Dr. Chung’s Food is ‘Dedication to the promotion of health of the people.’ He also believes that good health of the people contributes to the peace of the world. Here are excerpts from his statement published by the company he founded:

When I first became a doctor in 1937, my worries for the health of the children, who struggled from milk allergies and lactose intolerance, started with a sense of duty as a doctor. My eyes turned to lacking nutrients and inadequate medical facilities at the time. When I attended the 1st Asia Pediatric International Conference held in Singapore in 1958, I made up my mind to learn advanced technology, which I did in the United King, the United States and Japan for six years in my later years.

In 1964, I finally disclosed the name of disease and causes of lactose intolerance. I realized the fact that it occurred to the children who could not digest lactose well, which was included in the breast milk, and that these children needed to be fed nutritional substitute that did not include lactose.

So began my study of the substitute milk using soy beans which contained and balanced the three nutrients without lactose.

For two years, I conducted animal feeding tests using soymilk made with ground soybeans, and thereafter, I paved the way to developing Vegemil baby food through steady clinical studies.

Since 1968, we produced and supplied ‘Vegemil’ by cottage industry at the pediatric hospital but could not meet the demand. So we built a factory in Singal, Gyeonggi-do, which was equipped with a supply production scale of some 500,000 bottles per day. However, it was still not sufficient and so we built a large-sale soymilk production facility in Cheongju in 1983 and produced 1.5 million bottles of Vegemil per day.

On the other hand, occurrence of health problems due to westernized and instantized eating habits created an opportunity for another challenge to me, who simply only thought about the lactose intolerance or milk allergies, and I made a great effort to solve them.

In 1992, the ‘Vegemil C’ was developed and created by mixing fixed ratio of soymilk and milk on the second animal feeding tests at the Dr. Chung’s Food Central Research Center. It showed positive results in energy, endurance, intelligent etc. tests. The research paper was published at the international food conference held in India and was favorably reviewed, receiving patents for food invention by the US and Austrian governments in May 1995.

As the role of various components, including proteins contained in soybean, newly started showing, new benefits of soybean components such as protein, fiber, lecithin, trypsin inhibitor etc. are being released, and continuous in-depth studies are being done in the Western countries.

For the past 30 years, I have been advocating the important value of the soybeans alone but now I feel grateful that many colleagues are working with me on this, and I feel like soybeans met a Golden Age.

From the 1st Soybean symposium held in Arizona, USA to the 5th Soybean symposium held in Orlando, Florida, USA in September 2003, the title of individually held international Soybean symposiums constantly emphasizing the benefits that soybeans provided to humans, and about 250 papers have been published.

I believe that these global flows will probably continue for the time being. All our efforts for the promotion of health of the people around the world do not have time to rest. To become a worldwide food company, I believe that it is our duty to make endless efforts and develop better products for the human health, and I’m hoping that it will lead to realizing my simple and dream of world peace.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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