Oils and Fats News December 2007

Functional Foods/Lipids Seminar 2008

Planning is commencing for this two day seminar to be held at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland on November 12th and 13th, 2008. A joint initiative of the

Oils and Fats specialist group,  The University of Auckland and the Australasian branch of the AOCS, it is expected to be strongly supported by the CRI’s and to attract premium speakers from Australasia and afar.

For registering interest and seeing the news up to date see the website at;



Trans Fats in QSR

A roundtable of Australian Quick Service Restaurant Industry representatives met recently to report on their progress in removing artificial trans fatty acids from their products.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry for Health and Ageing, Senator Brett Mason, who chaired the roundtable, said he was delighted that the Quick Service Restaurant Industry had responded so quickly on this important public health initiative.

“I’m excited by the progress made by the Roundtable of Quick Serve Restaurants for their initiatives undertaken so far to reduce the level of trans fatty acids without an associated increase in the saturated fat content,” Senator Mason said.

“The Australian Government saw this as a priority in March (2007) when it called this roundtable.  I am pleased to see so much progress made in such a short time.

“There is a scientific link between the consumption of trans fatty acids and the risk factors for heart disease.  These acids not only increase bad cholesterol in our blood, a key indicator for heart disease, they may also decrease good cholesterol”.

“Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) conducted a formal scientific review of trans fatty acids in the food supply and reported back to the Australia and New Zealand food regulation Ministerial Council in May 2007”.

“The report found that the contributions of trans fatty acids to energy intakes of Australians was 0.6 per cent, and 0.7 per cent for New Zealanders, which was well below the goal of 1 per cent proposed by the progress in reducing the levels of saturated fats in their products through the use of best-practice oils.”

Industry representatives, who included the Baking Industry Association, The Coffee Club, Domino’s Pizza, Eagle Boys Pizza, Hungry Jacks, KFC, Jesters Pies, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, la Porchetta, Oporto, Red Rooster and Subway, reported on initiatives to further reduce trans fatty acids.  These initiatives build on work undertaken by the industry over a number of years.  Oils industry representatives at the roundtable included Goodman Fielder, Peerless Foods, Unilever Food Solutions and the Australian Oilseeds Federation.

The collaboration on trans fats was established in early 2007 and includes representatives of the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand, the Dietitians Association of Australia, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and FSANZ.

Its primary aim is to cooperate in reducing artificial trans fatty acids in New Zealand and Australian foods without causing an associated increase in saturated fats.  The group will promote wide implementation of industry and public health initiatives to reduce the levels of trans fatty acids and raise consumer awareness and understanding.

A fact sheet on artificial trans fatty acids can be found on the Food Sandards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website at: www.foodstandards.gov.au

Professor Murray Skeaff (Otago) has just submitted a report to the WHO on removing trans fatty acids from the diet. We hope to see publication of this valuable document very soon.

ISF (World congress on Oils and Fats) Conference 2009

Progress is being made in assembling plenary and keynote speakers for this major event to take place in Sydney on 27-30 September 2009.


Omega-3 news

Evidence that the business of omega-3 around the world is hotting up, comes from a recent patent dispute between Martek, a leading supplier  of algal produced DHA and Lonza. A US court held up Marteks’ claims from several patents(Numbers 5,340,594 and 6,410281)  and it appears that Lonza will be paying hefty damages for breaches of these patents.

Food Ingredients First.com

The Omega-3 Centre in its latest newsletter details work on the anti-depressant effect of omega-3 fatty acids and also on their blood pressure lowering abilities.



Olive oil – Olives NZ Awards 2007

The record number of entries in this, the seventh year of the Olives New Zealand (ONZ) Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards reflects the expansion of the New Zealand extra virgin olive oil industry.

48 gold medals, 47 silver and 9 bronze were awarded to extra virgin olive oils entered from almost all of the New Zealand olive-growing regions.  The oils were judged in 4 classes; Delicate, Medium, Intense and Single Varietal.

Best in Show was awarded to Four Sisters Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil  from the Kapiti region.  This oil also won Best in Class in the Single Varietal class.

Two other Best in Class awards were given.  Best in Class – Intense Oil went to Matiatia Grove from Waiheke Island (Margaret Edwards).  Lot Eight, produced in the Wairarapa, won the Best in Class – Medium.

This year’s competition attracted 104 entries with 46% of them being awarded a gold medal – exceptional by international standards.  Roberto Zecca, the international guest judge, says this is a true indication of the incredibly high quality of New Zealand extra virgin olive oils.  “The entries reflect the outstanding quality of extra virgin olive oils produced in this country – on the whole very well balanced, with complex fruity aromas and flavours,” commented Zecca.

Health Effects of Pan Fried Vegetables in Virgin Olive Oil

Pan-frying of vegetables, such as potatoes, green peppers, zucchini, eggplants – in olive oil is a common practice in the Mediterranean olive oil producing countries.  Vegetables are normally fried as they are, although sometimes eggplants and zucchinis are blanketed with flour or batter prior to frying.  The fried vegetables are served as starters, or used as ingredients in other Mediterranean recipes (e.g. mousaka).

Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO) holds a unique position among cooking oils and fats, being very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and containing significant amounts of health-promoting micro-constituents like tocopherols, polyphenols, terpenic acids, squalene and phytosterols.

Olive oil’s terpenic acids –oleanolic, maslinic and ursolic- have been reported to exhibit hepato-protective, anti-inflammatory and antitumor action.

Squalene, together with phenolic compounds and oleic acid appear to confer the anti-inflammatory properties and may contribute to the reported anti-carcinogenic activity of olive oil, especially for colon cancer.

During controlled pan-frying experiments of vegetables in EVOO under household conditions, it was shown that a significant fraction of these substances survive and enrich the fried vegetables, thus becoming part of our diet. They were enriched in monounsaturated fatty acids, having a healthy fatty acid profile and low atherogenic and thrombogenic indices. The pan-fried vegetables :

  1. Contained 70-350 times more –tocopherol than the fresh vegetables.
  2. Contained 4-13 times more EVOO originating polyphenols – mainly tyrosol- compared to the raw vegetables.
  3. Were enriched in olive oil’s terpenic acids (oleanolic, maslinic, and ursolic acids)- which were not present in raw vegetables- in concentrations ranging from 2.1-6.8 mg/100g of fried food.
  4. Contained 2-3 orders of magnitude more squalene compared to the raw vegetables.
  5. Were enriched in phytosterols in relation to the uncooked vegetables.

Furthermore, it was calculated that a serving of vegetables pan-fried in EVOO provides a significant portion of the daily intakes of these microconstituents, contributing to the intake of oleic acid, vitamin E, polyphenols, terpenic acids, squalene and plant sterols in the Mediterranean diet.


Healthy French Fries (Translated and contributed by Anny Dentener)

“Healthy, crisp and tasty fries with superheated steam frying.”

TNO, a Dutch technological research institute, has introduced the HiFri®, a new frying system using patented superheated steam technology.  Using this process energy, fat, saturated and trans fatty acid levels of fries are drastically reduced without sacrificing crispiness, structure and taste of the product.  The website shows videos (in Dutch/Flemish) of TV news items in which consumers and a frying expert in blind tasting cannot tell the difference or if anything think the hot air fried product is better.  It shows the equipment in action as well.

The new HiFri® (High Tech Frying) equipment replaces traditional frying fat as a medium for heat transfer with a blend of dry superheated steam and hot air.  Steam at 200°C is circulated in a closed environment and transfers the heat to the product.  Thanks to the closed circuit set up there is no frying smell and less risk for burns from hot equipment or spattering fat.  The lack of oxygen further reduces the chance of fat oxidation.

TNO research institute has developed the equipment with Steamfry BV and optimization of products and process was done in collaboration with McCains.  Fries used to still have some fat from initial factory pre-frying, but to date the site does not give any comparative nutrition information.  Fat levels are likely to be comparable to those of oven fries, i.e. significantly less than traditional takeaway fries.  The equipment is likely to be rolled out in early 2008 for caterers and restaurants, and could also have applications in smaller scale blanching, sterilizing, pasteurizing and cooking of other foods.  The company envisages a consumer unit in due course to replace deep frying pans in homes.

Pictures of a unit with the barrels showing the way the French fries are inserted into the machine.



Laurence Eyres, FNZIFST

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