Oils and Fats News January/February 2011

A new Standard for Australian olive oil

This new standard has been drafted by Standards Australia and will also become a NZ standard. The draft is available for public comment

Olive oil for curing ailments

It is a bit late for the festive season but a recent study showed that taking a spoonful of EV olive oil before indulging, can alleviate the effects of the alcohol.

Too late for last holidays but the following research may help those of us who are getting on in years.

An ongoing study of older adults shows evidence that one type of diet can help mitigate cognitive problems. An ongoing prospective study of older adults in the USA, called the Chicago Health and Aging Project has shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cognitive decline with older age.

“This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, lower meat consumption, and moderate wine and non-refined grain intake,” said lead author Dr. Christy Tangney of Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago. “Instead of espousing avoidance of foods, the data support that adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times and other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols and numbers.

Potato chips

A new potato chip company started up operation recently in Timaru. Called the Heartland Potato Chip Company, it uses high quality local potatoes, modern equipment and a liquid low saturates frying oil to produce very enjoyable potato chips.



Griffins Eta have also just completed a major capital project and installed new equipment for their potato chip line at Wiri. Combined with a major quality improvement this has resulted in a major uplift in the sensory properties of ETA potato chips. This is all good news for those awaiting the start of the rugby season.


Uncle Joe’s Walnut and Hazelnut Oils

There is an article on walnuts in the latest edition of Inform by AOCS. Interestingly enough I had the pleasant experience of sampling and consuming product from Blenheim in the South island. Uncle Joe’s walnut and hazelnut oils are excellent in their nutty flavours on salads and vegetables. The walnut oil is best kept in the fridge as it has a high content of  alpha-linolenic acid. They also have nut spreads based on the two nut varieties. Both these products are excellent on hot toast and make a change from peanut butter.


Dioxin in fatty acids

A recent example of what seems to be a perennial problem of contamination of fats in Europe due to dodgy, profit- inspired practices.

Germany has shut down a number of farms and halted sales after dioxin contamination of animal feed.

Police last week raided a north German firm suspected of knowingly supplying up to 3000 tonnes of fatty acids meant for industrial use with high levels of potentially carcinogenic dioxins to some 25 animal feed makers.

Tests on samples from the company, Harles und Jentzsch, showed nine samples out of 20 had dioxin levels higher, or much higher, than permitted, with one batch 78 times the legal limit.

Its 25 customer companies then reportedly delivered up to 150,000 tonnes of contaminated feed to thousands of farms – mostly those producing eggs and rearing poultry and pigs – across large parts of Germany. Products that surprisingly enough found their way into markets in Holland and England.

“There are many things that make us believe that the company cheated its clients and transformed fatty acids of poor quality into feed for expensive livestock,” Lower Saxony’s agriculture ministry recently said.

The ministry plans to control all manufacturers that use fatty acids in their animal feed in the region.

Germany has banned some 4700 of its 375,000 farms from selling products pending test results, destroying more than 100,000 eggs and launching recall actions.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/egg-scare-shuts-4700-farms-in-germany-20110107-19j0e.html and http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3108851.htm

Current knowledge of omega-3 fatty acids

A useful review has just appeared which covers the structure and sources of omega-3 fatty acids, their metabolic pathways and their effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer, brain and eye health, and neurological disorders.

The article highlights issues still to be resolved such as the distinction between EPA and DHA, the optimal amount and ratio in the diet and the possible deleterious effects of oxidised omega-3.

Gogus, U., et. al. Int. J. Food Science and Technology 2010, 45,417-436
Laurence Eyres, FNZIFST

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