Oils & Fats News – March 2006

Book Review

The use of Palm Oil in Frying”. By Kurt Berger. Publisher, the Malaysian Palm Oil Production Council .ISBN  983-9191-02-0

This reviewer owes his almost lifetime interest (one may call it obsession) in oils and fats to Kurt Berger. Kurt was many years ago the Chief Chemist of Lyons UK .

This was a company involved in corner cafes, ice cream, cakes pastry and many other food businesses. On a first business trip to the UK in 1976 the reviewer was hosted to a tour of the modern facilities in London complete with Gas Chromatographs, X-Ray diffraction and NMR. An indication of the times we have left behind was the fact that Lyons had 6 levels of staff cafeterias with the executive one on the top floor. From memory we dined on the one below.

Anyway I digress and to continue the story when Kurt retired the first time he was offered a post in Malaysia to set up the now renowned PORIM. After his second retirement from this excellent research establishment, Kurt maintained his involvement in oils and fats and continues to consult. This 100 page booklet with seven chapters is an excellent, pragmatic and informative text on the subject of palm oil in frying .I can recommend it to academics, nutritionists and food manufacturers utilising palm oil and its fractions.

Lipidomics : Developments, challenges and opportunities

There is a good review of this growing topic in the March edition of Lipid Technology.

The authors from the University Of Bradford (UK) summarize lipidomics as follows:

“An emerging area of lipid research aiming to study, for a given tissue or system, the profiles and complete composition of lipids in parallel with their functional role.”

Omega 3 increases in usage in food

It comes as no surprise to regular readers that this reviewer continues his belief in the all-round benefits of consuming omega 3, either in fish or as an additive in food products. The caveat being is that the oil used must be free from oxidised species. Frost and Sullivan recently commented that omega 3 products have one of the strongest futures of all functional ingredients based on a large storehouse of well documented research available.

Recent product launches in Europe include milks, breads, ham, and eggs.

Interesting recent work has been looking at the possible role of omega 3 in alleviating the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The experiments in mice showed significant reduction to the damage of structural proteins that make up the “receiving stations” called dendrites on neurons in their brains. (

We have often commented on the need to take in adequate amounts of antioxidants if increasing ones intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Now a recent study has shown that Vitamin E and Selenium could reducer the toxicity of mercury from consuming fish. Potential mercury toxicity has always been seen as a possible deterrent to consuming more fish in the diet.

The study is published on line in Neurotoxicity and Teratology (doi:10.1016/ 2005.11.02)

There are now several companies involved in marketing and selling omega-3 products. These include DSM Nutritionals, Martek Biosciences ,Ocean Nutrition of Canada and Lipid Nutrition of Holland.

Would Ewe like more CLA in your products?

Sheep milk products have always struggled to find a niche position against the giant cow’s milk product manufacturers. Now it seems you can feed linseed and linseed oil to sheep resulting in elevated levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).

Readers will know that this is the desirable trans fatty acid in food products. Lipids, 40(5) 445-454.  Apparently no change was observed in the sensory properties of the resultant cheeses . No comment!

Powerful chocolate Bar

Mars Inc has shipped its first production of its Cocoa Via bar which claims health benefits from its mixture of granola, rice, plant sterols and flavanol-filled cocoa powder. Mars thinks the product has great potential. It will be interesting to follow its progress and see what clinical trials get published.

The rise of Vitamin D

Once thought to be of benefit only to those unfortunates who live in the grimy, polluted Northern Hemisphere, this vitamin is seeing a resurgence of interest in its fortification of food products. In Europe it used to be mandatory to add Vitamin A and D to margarines and I suspect this is still the case.

The interest in Vitamin D stems from its involvement in lowering the risk of certain cancers and its proven vital role in osteoporosis prevention.

Mintels Global database showed 286 product launches worldwide with food products containing Vitamin D.

Specialist Group News

The AGM will be held on Monday, 15 May 2006.  Contact for tickets. We have not yet decided on the venue as unfortunately our traditional restaurant of choice Wolfies has closed its doors.

Professor Con Cambie will present the after dinner speech on the occasion of his retirement (25 years!).  Laurence Eyres (Chairman) has left Fonterra Brands NZ and has joined Auckland University as Director- Food Nutrition and Health. The position entails working with Uniservices to develop links between the researchers in various departments and the Food industry as a whole. The position is non academic and is not connected with any department management roles.

NZIFST Conference

Oils and fats contribution to the conference will be made by the following specialist group members:

-           DR Rufus Turner-oxidised oils

-           MS Shane Lal Plant sterols-their mechanism for cholesterol reduction

-           DR Siew-Young Quek Separating Vitamin E from Palm fatty acid distillate.

-           Dr Laurence Eyres-NZ Extra Virgin Olive Oil Health aspects.

International Conferences

4th Eurofed Lipid Congress 1-4 October Madrid, Spain.



There will be a two day meeting of the Australasian branch of the AOCS at Food Science Australia, Werribee on November 2nd and 3rd.

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