Oils & Fats News January 2013

WHEN did humans decide consuming whale food was a good idea?

When it was reported that it was some sort of multi-vitamin cure-all that will reduce everything from blood pressure to cholesterol; help alleviate PMS or add muscle strength; improve cognitive function and brain health.

Is there anything krill oil supplements can’t do?

Now krill oil is growing in popularity, reportedly because it has similar benefits to fish oil but is even more effective.

But is it really, and is fishing the Southern Ocean for tonnes of krill per year for use in supplements – as well as for fishmeal – more destructive than the positives provide?

Now, with a growing market for krill supplements, what is the future for this tiny crustacean which remains the main diet for whales, penguins, seals, squid and other fish?

In 2010, for the first time, part of the Antarctic krill fishery had to be closed because the catch limit was reached. Quotas continue to grow yet scientific studies to determine what effects, if any, fishing is having on the population have not been undertaken and there remains uncertainty as to the future of krill numbers.

Humans really don’t have a good track record in showing restraint, particularly when it comes to hunting. Massive over-fishing is having detrimental effects in many parts of the world and has done for decades. When profit is the over-riding factor, the chances of greed and vested interests muddying the waters grow.


Coconut Oil Again

A certain NZ company was promoting coconut oil erroneously by advertising the product utilising Health Claims in the NZ Herald in December. They claimed weight loss, antibacterial properties and an incorrect description of the metabolism of coconut oil in the body. None of these claims are scientifically proven.

The EU and FSANZ will soon implement regulations that will prevent food companies from claiming their products offer health benefits that haven’t been scientifically substantiated. To date, only 241 of the 2,927 health claims submitted to the European Food Safety Authority have been approved. Companies that decline to modify their marketing claims in response to the regulations could face litigation. (Nature).

MCPD in Vegetable Oils

Process contaminants are a group of unrelated compounds formed in the production of finished food products. Of particular interest is the occurrence of variable levels of 3-MCPD esters in refined vegetable oils. Discrepancies among different measurement techniques are ascribed to the presence of the potential precursor, glycidyl (glycidol) esters. The exact relationship, if any, between these two groups of compounds is unclear.

3-MCPD Esters

3-MCPD (3-monochloropropane-1, 2-diol) in its free state—a potential carcinogen—is a contaminant of acid-hydrolyzed vegetable proteins and soy sauce. 3-MCPD esters have been identified in a number of foods and food ingredients, including refined vegetable oils. 3-MCPD can be formed or lost during the process of extraction if strict protocols are not followed.

The Dreaded Fat Tax in Denmark

Citing a harmful effect on businesses and consumer buying power, lawmakers in Denmark have repealed the so-called Fat Tax, which was charged on foods high in saturated fats, after just one year.

In a related decision, the Danish tax ministry said it was cancelling plans for a sugar tax. “The fat tax is one of the most criticized we had in a long time,” Mette Gjerskov, minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, said on Saturday during a news conference in Copenhagen, the day the repeal was announced.

“Now we have to try to improve public health by other means.”

The Danish decisions to end taxes aimed at curbing obesity point up the challenges that politicians face in grappling with what has become a major public health issue. The moves were announced just a few days after voters in California defeated ballot measures that would have imposed taxes on sugary drinks.

Sustainable Palm Oil is Good for Business

Protecting the environment by producing certified sustainable palm oil is also good for the bottom line, according to a new report released by WWF.

‘Profitably and Sustainability in Palm Oil Production’ is a first-time study that comprehensively examines the financial costs and benefits of producing sustainable palm oil under the guidelines set out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The report finds that economic benefits outweigh the financial costs of pursuing sustainable palm oil operations. “Our research found that many firms who switched to producing sustainable palm oil – which is good for people and the environment – reaped significant return on their investments,” said WWF’s Joshua Levin, the report’s lead author.

“In some cases, switching to sustainable production was economically transformative for the business. Producers, buyers, and investors should see sustainable palm oil as a serious business opportunity.”

Produced in collaboration with CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, and FMO, the Dutch development bank, the report shows that the business benefits gained from achieving RSPO certification “typically outweigh the costs of implementation – in many cases significantly – yet often through unexpected and indirect channels.”

There is a session on sustainable palm oil planned for the NZIFST conference this year.

AAOCS Meeting

Contact Dr.Matt Miller, 6th – 8th November 2013 in Newcastle, NSW.  For information go to
Laurence Eyres FNZIFST

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