Oils & Fats News February 2005

Heart Tick Criteria

The Heart Foundation has changed the rules for gaining “the tick” on vegetable oils.  This will mainly affect oils containing partially hydrogenated oils and fats. Ruminant products are unaffected. The new criteria are:

Saturated fat – 20% or less of total fat

Trans fat – 1% of total fat or less

Analytical results to be from a NATA approved laboratory.

The current rules (<28%  total Sats & Trans)) cease and the new ones come into play on 30 January 2006.

Trans Fat

Spearheading the growing trans fat alternative market, Germany’s Bayer CropScience will link up with private agri-firm Cargill to bring a new specialty oil to the market.

Targeting food processors keen to eliminate trans fats and reduce saturated fat content from their food formulations, the new oil will not require hydrogenation.

Cargill and Bayer have developed a line of hybrid high-yielding rapeseed, which produces a high oleic rapeseed oil, which is highly stable and hence negates the need for hydrogenation.

Today, soybean and palm oil combined account for over half of all oil consumed in the world.  But the third largest vegetable oil crop, rapeseed oil, reached 15 million tons last year and is currently trading at about $666 (€509) a ton.

AUCS Australian Section

A synopsis of the papers presented in Adelaide on 30 November is now on the website. Feedback on the utility of the website would be appreciated as would suggestions for future additions.

Green Tea

Green Tea extracts (such as Teavigo) have been shown to boost endurance in laboratory animal testing.

Green tea extract could become a novel ingredient for the sports nutrition industry if new findings on animals can be confirmed in human tests.

A team from the Japanese healthcare company Kao has found that mice given green tea extract regularly over 10 weeks increased their endurance in exercise by up to 24 per cent.

They explain in an online edition of the American Journal of Physiology, Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology (10.1152 /2004) that green tea extract appears to stimulate the use of fatty acids by the muscle, reducing carbohydrate use and allowing for longer exercise times.

Green tea’s effect on fatty acid uptake, speeding up fat breakdown, is also thought to be the reason why it helps weight loss, another area studied by the Kao researchers, and already targeted by supplement makers.

In the new experiments, on Balb/c mice ,swimming in an adjustable-current water pool, endurance exercise performance was boosted up to 24 per cent when the mice were given green tea extract at a dose of 0.5 per cent of their weight for 10 weeks.

It increased 8 per cent with a 0.2 per cent by-weight addition to food, showing that the effect was dose-dependant.

Like the weight loss category, the sports nutrition sector is growing rapidly, significantly outpacing growth in the more traditional vitamins and minerals categories.

In the UK, second only to Germany in terms of size, sports drinks and supplements grew 37 per cent in 2002 to reach a retail value of £166 million in 2003, according to Mintel.

But while sports nutrition has been characterized by innovation and become known as one of the most dynamic segments of the nutraceuticals industry, annual growth in the US market – the world’s biggest – is slowing, and manufacturers are under pressure to develop novel products with new ingredients.

Avocado Extract

A paper in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (16 (2005) 23-30) describes lipid-soluble bioactives extracted from avocado, which have been shown to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth in vitro.  The extracts are rich in lutein (a carotenoid) until now thought to be only beneficial in eye health (AMD prevention).

The role in lipids in insulin resistance

There is a significant paper in the latest issue of Lipid Technology (February 2005) on the subject of the “metabolic syndrome”.  Two main features of the syndrome are insulin resistance and disturbance of lipid metabolism.  Key worrying diagnostic criteria for those concerned are:

Abdominal obesity, Waist circumference greater than 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women.

Elevated plasma triacylglycerol greater than 1.7 mmol/litre.

Decreased HDL cholesterol

Hypertension and Insulin resistance (fasting plasma glucose greater than 6.1 mmol/litre.

Unilever divests edible oils

Unilever has sold its Crisp ‘n Dry and Cookeen businesses to Princes, supplier of canned fish and meat and Shippams sandwich pastes.

The sale is part of the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate’s strategy to focus on fewer bigger brands and comes days before the group is expected to announce a restructuring of its boardroom.

The sale price was not disclosed but Unilever insisted jobs at its factory at Purfleet in Essex – which produces 1m tubs of margarine a day – would not be affected by the sale.

The transaction does not involve margarines, but solely the oil and cooking fat businesses, which includes Mazola and Spry Crisp ‘n’ Dry.

Under the terms of the deal, Liverpool-based Princes will have the licence for sunflower oil Flora and Olivio, the blended vegetable and olive oil spread, although Unilever will continue to own these brands and sell them in tubs.

Tim Jolly, chief executive of Princes Manufacturing, said: “We believe that with our investment we can take these brands forward alongside the rest of our expanding product ranges and deliver unrivalled category expertise and sector management to retailers stocking these products.  This acquisition brings six leading brands into the Princes portfolio and establishes the company in the British seed oil and cooking fats sector.”

Under the Path to Growth strategy outlined by its now departed chairman Niall FitzGerald, Unilever has been trying to focus on more internationally recognised names such as Knorr, Hellmans, Bertolli and Pot Noodle.

Recently Unilever released its full-year results and is expected to end its practice of having a Chairman in both Britain and Holland.  It is expected that Antony Burgmans will become Chairman and British-based Patrick Cescau, Chief Executive.

ADM award for trans-free oil

Frost and Sullivan have awarded the US company (ADM) its product leadership award for the development of the Novalipid range of free and low trans fat products.

Interplay between different PUFA in CHD

There is an interesting paper just published on the interplay between different PUFA in the diet and the risk of CHD in men. (Circulation, Jan18 p 157,2005)

Conclusions of the article — n-3 PUFAs from both seafood and plant sourcesmay reduce CHD risk, with little apparent influence from backgroundn-6 PUFA intake. Plant-based n-3 PUFAs may particularly reduce CHD risk when seafood-based n-3 PUFA intake is low, which hasimplications for populations with low consumption or availabilityof fatty fish. i.e. if you have a low intake of fish or long chain omega-3 then take in intermediate chain length omega-3 such as linolenic acid from flaxseed. Apparently it’s the ratio that’s important not the absolute quantity consumed.


Laurence Eyres, Chairman

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