Twelve kachchi ghani brands – some pass muster, some don’t
Some pass muster, some don't 12 brands tested
While calling it India’s favourite oil will be stretching things, the mustard oil is by all means a near staple in households across the country’s eastern and northern parts. Its sharp taste and pungent flavour make it a favourite cooking oil on the one hand, and its vitamin-laden, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties have given it the status of a cure-all medicine on the other hand. The fact that it is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats makes it one of the oils to opt for, for the cholesterol-conscious. Last and not the least is its popularity as massage oil, especially during the winters. Availability is not at all a problem. In fact, with a surfeit of brands of mustard oil in the marketplace, consumers may often be faced with deep confusion about choosing one over the other. After all, they all do look similar. Yet, are they all as good as another and do they meet the basic requirements? Do they all fulfil the minimum requirements and are they all safe for consumption? Do we know that the iodine value in mustard oil is a measure of the unsaturated fats therein? What is natural essential oil? How many of us know that the oil must not have any traces of argemone oil? This report is a firsthand study of 12 brands of kachchi ghani mustard oils along these and other relevant parameters.
For our tests, we purchased 12 popular brands of kachchi ghani mustard oil from retailers in Delhi/NCR. These were in pet bottles of one-litre capacity each and subjected to comparative testing at an NABL-accredited laboratory. The study was confined to key parameters specified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as well as methods of test specified in Indian Standard (IS: 546: 1975).
Based on the evaluation of the test results, it may be concluded that the tested brands provide a safe
cooking medium. At the same time, it may be noted that three brands – Mahakosh, Panghat and Super Kwality – did not meet the requirements of natural essential oil. Babaji did not meet the requirement of refractive index.
Kachchi ghani refers to ‘cold press’ extraction process of mustard oil. Mustard seeds are crushed at low temperature so that natural properties, antioxidants and essential oils are retained in the oil. The essential oils content of kachchi ghani mustard oil also acts as a preservative and exhibits anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic activity.