Palm oil demystified

When it comes to oil, there are few options that are always a part of our list when we head to the grocery store. However when one says palm oil, most of us raise our eyebrows as though a taboo is associated with it. Well, I had a neutral standpoint here as I had no much idea regarding it’s pros and cons. Also, I’ve been listening about palm oil at least from the past 25 years as my dad is a part of the food distribution system for Govt of Karnataka.

The story goes back when I remember palm oil used to be packed in 5 liter tins and were stacked in my shop for card holders and it was a hot selling commodity then.In the recent years, I’ve seen a change in this trend and the oil now comes in one liter packets and is offered at a subsidized price to ration card holders. But, I’ve noticed consumers rejecting to take their quota and most of this is sent back to the government. This part had always left me questioned. Why ?

I was recently invited for a bloggers meetup by the Malaysian Palm oil council to understand palm oil better. I was happy to be a part of this event as I had a lot of thoughts about this oil in mind.

Why palm oil?
1) It’s a neutral odour oil with no taste, Which basically retains the core characteristics of the fried product.
2) It’s 100% trans fat free as it does not need hydrogenation.
3)  It’s nutritionally balanced with high levels of carotene and Vitamin E tocotrienols.
4) It’s cholesterol free and rich in potent anti oxidants.
4) Imparts a good and consistent texture in fried foods.
5) It’s non GMO.
6) Very stable at high temperature.

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Primarily, The different fractions of palm oil include the Red palm oil, Palm oil, Palmolein   oil and the palm stearin.

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We tend to think a lot about this topic and while choosing our oil as it forms a major part of our diet everyday and is directly lined to our health, Another fact is that most of the big companies that use palm oil for frying and processing food. India itself is the largest palm oil importer in the world also we need to understand that the largest consumed oil in the world is palm oil.

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Further palm oil is not just for frying and household purposes, It has a lot of other uses as well.

  • Margarine
  • Vanaspati (Vegetable ghee)
  • Shortening
  • Soap noodles
  • Personal care products
  • Palm based chocolates, ice cream and creamers.

To conclude, My understanding of palm oil had a new view and I was able get the pros and cons of it very well.
There were around 35-40 prominent food bloggers from Bangalore who were here and had various questions clarified.
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Also, A suggestion from my side that I passed on to the officials of MPOC is to touch base upon the grass root level and enlighten the individuals regrading the same. The reason is that palm oil is still being distributed till today in the public distribution systems across India and people are mostly unaware or either misinformed about it and I’m sure it would take time.

More details about palm oil can be found at http://www.mpoc.org.in/about-palm-oil/

 

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