Skip to Content

Vegetable oil

« Back to Glossary Index

**History of Vegetable Oils:**
Olive oil production dates back to 6000 BC in present-day Israel.
– Ancient Egypt used plant oils like olive oil in mummification.
Palm oil became popular in West and Central Africa, especially during Britain’s Industrial Revolution.
Soybean oil gained popularity in the US by the 1950s and is now the second most popular vegetable oil globally.

**Uses of Vegetable Oils:**
– Culinary uses include frying, flavor base, texture in pastries, and high-temperature cooking.
– Industrial uses range from soaps, skin products, to electrical insulators and engine lubricants.
– Some pet foods include vegetable oil as an additive.

**Production and Processing of Vegetable Oils:**
– Extraction methods involve mechanical or chemical extraction from plant components like seeds.
– Solvent extraction, commonly using hexane, is popular for higher yields.
– Hydrogenation can increase melting points, leading to saturated fats.
– Deodorization is essential for removing impurities and unwanted flavors.
– Occupational exposure limits are set by organizations like OSHA and NIOSH.

**Composition and Types of Vegetable Oils:**
– Properties include saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
– Smoke point is a crucial characteristic.
– Examples of vegetable oils and their compositions vary, such as avocado, coconut, and olive oil.
Seed oils, extracted from the endosperm of plants, are commonly used in cooking and food production.

**Regulations and Health Aspects of Vegetable Oils:**
– Specific regulations in Canada and the EU mandate labeling of vegetable oils in food products.
– Concerns about trans fats have led to initiatives like removing partially hydrogenated oils.
– Proper storage and monitoring are essential for maintaining the shelf life of vegetable oils.
– Recycling of used vegetable oil for biodiesel production and animal feed is common.

Vegetable oil (Wikipedia)

Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oils extracted from seeds or from other parts of fruits. Like animal fats, vegetable fats are mixtures of triglycerides. Soybean oil, grape seed oil, and cocoa butter are examples of seed oils, or fats from seeds. Olive oil, palm oil, and rice bran oil are examples of fats from other parts of fruits. In common usage, vegetable oil may refer exclusively to vegetable fats which are liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils are usually edible.

The health effects of vegetable oil consumption have been the subject of numerous studies. A systematic review in 2015 found that consumption of virgin olive oil significantly reduced cardiovascular disease. Consumption of fried food in general was not associated with higher cardiovascular disease but it was associated with obesity.

« Back to Glossary Index