Seven brands in the fray and they are all right
Soyabean oil is one of the widely consumed cooking oils and its nutritional value is comparable to those of other vegetable oils like maize corn oil, groundnut oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil. It is an excellent source of linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid required in the body. Of course, health claims by vegetable oils are a dime a dozen and can leave the consumer confused about the best buy for themselves. As it is, one may be sceptical about some of the hyperbolic claims made about health benefits. Adulteration of oil, hydrogenation and presence of genetically modified (GM) varieties only complicate matters. The more we read on the subject, the more information – and categories of cooking oil – we find ourselves having to deal with. Since each holds a different set of pros and cons, it really is hard to pick one. Are all brands made equal – in other words, are they all as good as another and do they meet the basic requirements? Do we know that the iodine value in soyabean oil is a measure of the unsaturated fats therein? How many of us known that the oil must not have any traces of argemone oil? Or that the lower the acid value, the better the quality? This report is a first-hand study of seven brands of soyabean oils along these and other relevant parameters, and the good news is that in the overall analysis they all fulfilled the minimum requirements and are safe for consumption.
The Indian Standard (IS 4276) prescribes five grades of soyabean oil. Only refined grade is recommended for direct edible purposes (raw soyabean oil is not suitable for direct human consumption for various reasons.). For our tests, we purchased seven popular brands of refined soyabean oils from retailers in Delhi. These were in polypacks of one-litre capacity and subjected to comparative testing at an NABL-accredited laboratory. The study was confined to parameters specified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as well as methods of test specified in Indian Standard.
All the tested brands were manufactured in India and the same has been mentioned on their label. Where the oil is imported, the country of origin should be specified on the packing, which must also contain the declaration that the ‘imported oil does not contain traces of GM’.
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