Oils and Fats News January 2019

Oils and Fats News January 2019

Laurence Eyres NZIFST

World Congress (Conference 2020)

image for WCOF

The programme for this major event in Sydney is now being progressed. The processing section organisers of the conference are now assembling topics and speakers for this event. If you have seen or recently listened to an excellent speaker on a relevant subject, please let Lucky Inturissi, Matt Miller or Laurence Eyres know via this website.

Kurt G. Berger 1923-2018

Last year saw the passing at 95 of an industrial scientist who did so much for the technical world of oils and fats. He was a valued friend and colleague for many years. I was fortunate enough to receive a signed copy of his memoirs which he produced for his family which made very interesting reading following his childhood in pre-Nazi Germany and his family’s emigration to UK.  Kurt’s name became synonymous with Palm oil and he became the major spokesperson for the global development of this important oil back in the 80’s. This reviewer met him for the first time in 1977 when as a young chemist starting in edible oils, I attended an SCI oils conference in London. Kurt was by then a very experienced Chemist/Food Technologist working at Lyons UK.

Lyons was a large UK conglomerate with interests in ice cream, cakes biscuits and pastries and they had a string of famous corner cafes. Even in those early days Kurt’s lab had GLC, NMR and X-ray diffraction with a staff of renowned chemists, one of whom, Margaret Thatcher went on to a less interesting job.

When Kurt left Lyons after a long and distinguished career, he was asked to look at developing palm oil as an edible oil by the WHO. This led to him being appointed by the Malaysian government to start up and head PORIM. PORIM, the Palm oil Research Institute of Malaysia became over the years a leading research and development centre in the world of edible oils. At the start of the development the laboratories were in a tin shed with rudimentary equipment. Many early conferences were held which paralleled the building and development of modern refining with many innovations coming to fruition under Kurt’s supervision. Kurt and his wife Margaret were extremely friendly and hospitable hosts when they were in residence in Kuala Lumpur and hosted many networking events at which lifelong friendships were cemented. They were incredibly patient with the noisy group of Merseyside edible oil techno’s who were good at combining hard work and knowledge gathering with celebrating hard (networking).

These were exciting years for physical refining, dry fractionation, crystallisation and packing of bakery fats and selective hydrogenation.

The connection with Kurt and Margaret was maintained over many years and Kurt was a keynote speaker at our first NZ international conference in 1983 and made many more appearances as a guest speaker in subsequent years. He and his family also enjoyed New Zealand and Australia as holiday destinations, and they became great personal friends of several of us here down under. Over the years PORIM has produced a prodigious stream of useful and practical booklets on many aspects of oil science and technology. He left a great legacy behind him and one hopes Malaysia recognises the debt it owes to Kurt for his contribution to their industry.

Kurt will be sorely missed by his large family and the many friends he made all around the world.

Some examples of his very practical and unique publications:

Quality and functions of Palm oil in Food applications (2010). MPOC

The use of palm oil in Frying, (2005) MPOC.


Palm oil consumption and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality

Palm Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality The production and human consumption of palm oil, a tropical vegetable oil rich in saturated fats, have risen substantially in recent years, increasing by 40% from 1990 to 2007 in the world’s least developed countries.

While palm oil production has been used as a tool for economic development in Southeast Asia, controversy has flared over the deleterious environmental effects of its production and the potential that increased consumption damages population health.

Some Experts believe that the saturated fat in palm oil worsens cardiovascular health outcomes Experimental evidence confirms that consumption of palm oil increases plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) compared to other more unsaturated vegetable oils.

Palm oil consumption represents a saturated fat source relevant for policies aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease burdens. It’s probable that like coconut oil that consuming it as part of a healthy diet in modest amounts does not pose a huge risk. Palm oil also has a significant concentration of natural vitamin E isomers and around 10% linoleic acid. Conclusions: Increased palm oil consumption is related to higher CHD mortality rates in developing countries

Global Health. 2011; 7: 45.


Spanish olive oil

Spain cultivates hundreds of different cultivars of olives, but the most common varieties are Picual, Hojiblanca, Arbequina and Cornicabra.

Nearly every region in the country makes olive oil, but the south of Spain is defined by olives. In Jaén, in north-eastern Andalusia, olive trees stretch all the way to the horizon. The region produces more than 40 percent of the olive oil in Spain and about 20 percent of the global supply.


In the past, the country was known for sacrificing quality for quantity. Much of the oil, sold in bulk to Italy, was blended with oil from other Mediterranean countries and marketed as a “product of Italy.” Spain also made huge amounts of “lampante oil,” a grade of olive oil not suitable for human consumption until it is processed to make refined cooking oil.

They say no longer. Spain’s olive producers and bottlers have invested in excellence, from new harvesting practices to state-of-the-art machinery. Their goal is to challenge the assumption that Italian oil is the finest and firmly establish Spanish extra virgin olive oil as an excellent quality olive oil. We think they have a long way to go to dispel their spotted history.


Olive oil for frying

The Oils and Fats group funded a food technology student at Massey University to study the properties of NZ Extra Virgin Olive oil as an excellent frying oil and to dispel the urban myth that one cannot use olive oil for frying.

There is a poster paper summarizing her results on the website listed at end of this news article. The results will be written up as a short paper for Oils and fats news and for Food NZ later this year. The work parallels the excellent work reported by Claudia Guillame for Australian olive oil. See reference below.

Recent research has shown that quality olive oil taken as part of the Mediterranean diet lowers depression. So, eat your oven French fries cooked in quality EV olive oil.

Guillaume C, Modern Olives Laboratory Services, Australia (2018) Acta Scientific Nutritional Health Volume 2 Issue 6.

GOED on 3-MCPD and Glycidyl-Esters (Codex)

GOED is contributing to the development of a Codex Code of Practice on the mitigation of 3-MCPD and glycidyl-esters in refined oils within a Codex CCCF Electronic Working Group. The document is in development and is expected to be finalized in February. In the current draft, the working group chair has listed a few questions a few final questions about processing conditions and they were hoping that members of GOED who had trialled several techniques would provide input into the final document.

Processing variables being examined are degumming temperatures, chemical refining, bleaching and time and temperature of deodorisation.
The results will be applicable to all edible oils. See the GOED website


Chinese Infant Formula Regulations

Since the melamine milk scandal in 2008, there has been constant reform to the supervision of the infant formula industry. Registration of infant formula milk powder (“Infant Formula”) is probably one of the most significant changes. It will greatly affect all the industry players.

From 1 January 2018, the Infant Formula registration requirements in the new Food Safety Law came fully into force. Infant Formula products, either domestically manufactured or imported through general trade, must obtain formula registration before they can be sold in the PRC. This requirement will impact thousands of Infant Formula brands in the market – a great portion of which will not survive this change.

The 6th List of Additional Certified Organic Products was published by CNCA on June 19, 2018 and included OPO, also known as SN-2 palmitate. There is significant growth for this specialty lipid made by Advanced Lipids.

It should be noted that Infant Formulas distributed through cross-border e-commerce retail enjoy a grace period until the end of 2018 when another new policy will probably come into force. Details are set out below.


The NZ agent for OPO is Invita and they are fully up to date with the new regulations for their ingredients which also include FOS and GOS.






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