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DateLine Sunday, 8 April 2007

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Some coconut oil exposed to RBD

Some coconut oil in the open market is exposed to the refined, bleached and deodorized process which as experts in this field would have it is RBD. This invariably destroys the nutrients in these oils and whatever is of food value found in its crude stage.

According to M. S. N. Perera and P. L. C. Dias of the industrial Technology Institute unrefined coconut oil is the best oil. In case you wonder how to lay your hands on such, the National Engineering Research and Development Centre (NERD) has developed the technology and equipment to extract virgin coconut oil which machine is already available in the market for domestic use.

"Maintaining the chemical standard for any oil is difficult using chemical fatty acid analysis because when the oil is mixed with RBD, the quality is effaced," they said.

Many mill owners resort to RDB as it is the best way out to get rid of unpleasant odour when coconut oil is in its crude stage. RBD is imported into the country for a variety of purposes only to find its easy entry into coconut oil as well.

Though canola, soya, corn, sunflower and all other what is called edible oils have found favour with the Sri Lankan palate particulary for health upkeep, these two technical officers also had a reversal of such opinion.

These are semi drying oils and go through a chemical process before the end product is realized which is harmful to health. However, it is not so with crude olive and coconut oil.

Semi drying oil also reacts to atmospheric conditions and develops a surface coating, making it vulnerable to antioxidants over time.

Coconut oil and olive oil are both slow in atmospheric interaction and any amount of exposure will not affect such oil. As such it is classed non-drying oils.

Drying oils extracted from linseed are mainly used in the paint industry.

Both drying and semi-drying oils come from unsaturated oils. If the base for paint making is in its unsaturated origins, one can imagine the health damage that accompanies its inclusion in what is called edible oils - today the delight of many in the health conscious category.

These unsaturated oils also have a tendency to attract other chemicals and form new components making its consumption rather risky.

Explaining further the negative aspect of unsaturated oils they also said that the increase in peroxide value that follows after exposure to atmospheric oxygen gives rise to a chemical reaction and polymerises into a plastic like solid. This then is what surface coating is all about and is extremely health unfriendly. Heating such oil several times increases this surface coating and facilitates oxidation.

 

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