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Oil quality assurance collaboration could boost production efficiency – Cargill

By Mark Astley , 23-Apr-2012
Last updated on 23-Apr-2012 at 16:03 GMT

Collaborative research, conducted by food processor Cargill and the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS), has led to the refinement of methods to assure consistent oil quality in food products.

The cooperation, which was led by Cargill, saw food oil scientists and researchers from across the industry join forces to create and validate official analytical methods for measuring total fat and fatty acids in food.

The research also led to the development of updated forms for data reporting and a simplified sample preparation process.

Cargill global food research principal scientist Steve Hansen told FoodProductionDaily.com that as well as assuring the quality of oil in food, the research could boost efficiency in production.

The new official methods could also enable faster formulation of consumer products, the AOCS added.

Consistent oil quality

“Industry can use these methods to develop any food that includes fats and fatty acids,” said Hansen.

“These methods can actually be used along the entire supply chain of oil starting with oilseeds, through bulk oil refining and into a finished food product containing fats and oils. Each matrix has the potential to be analysed with only one method.”

The AOCS methods, which currently cover more than 400 fats, oils and lipid-related methods used in processing and trading, are used in hundreds of laboratories worldwide.

Several AOCS chromatography and extraction methods were refined during the project – all of which are available to the industry from AOCS, added Hansen.

“Ultimately, this work can help manufacturers assure consistent oil quality and nutritional labeling; as well as save time and money as they work to create new consumer products. These official methods help us to be more efficient, since we don’t have to start from scratch to create new analytical methods each time.”

Faster formulation

“The majority of adult consumers are concerned about fats in their diets, so fat information is among the most read on a product’s nutrition label. It was rewarding to work with my colleagues across the industry to develop tools that will help in the creation of consumer products with reduced amounts of fat,” added Hansen.

The AOCS, which is a global scientific society open to those interested in fats, oils, surfactants, detergents and related materials, collaborates across the food industry to investigate and publish new official methods in the analysis of oils, fats and related materials.

“These new official methods for total fat and fatty acids in foods are a significant industry achievement in that they will enable faster formulation or reformulation of consumer products, especially as the industry looks to respond to demands from consumers for reduced fat food options,” said AOCS technical director Richard Cantrill.

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