Science Behind Technology

The ongoing research to discover and quantify contaminants in edible oils has led to various preventive and curative actions in the oil processing industry. When in the 90’s, the consumer was made aware of the negative consequences of too much trans fats (TFA) in food oils, the oil processing industry took severe measures to counterattack this health issue by adapting its oil refining and fat modifications routes. As a consequence, today most food oils have TFA levels below 1% and partially hydrogenated oils are more and more banned from food formulations, with more use of interesterified and fractionated oils. The increased production and hence availability of palm oil has contributed a lot to this change in food oil formulations with low to almost zero TFA.

Since end of 2000’s the scientific world is looking into the health impact of 2 &3 monochloropropane diol and its esters (2 & 3-MCPD) and glycidylesters (GE). Both components are considered toxic and may induce cancer, with the GE being even genotoxic. Especially for infants, these components are to be considered unsafe from health point of view and hence need to be avoided or at least limited in their food intake.

A latest report released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in May 2016, has now awaken the industry to take serious actions to mitigate this new threat for the oil processing and consuming industry. Where TFA was an issue directly related to high poly-unsaturated oils and partially hydrogenated oils, 2 & 3-MCPD & GE are more problematic to especially the palm oil processing industry.

Desmet Ballestra R&D Team has made substantial research on the 2 & 3-MCPD & GE components over the years. Our organisation is in a position to propose industrial solutions & guidelines to our customers to mitigate the 2 & 3-MCPD & GE.

Customers being interested are welcome to contact the nearest Desmet Ballestra Office.

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