COCONUT OIL PROCESSING TERMS
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COCONUT OIL PROCESSING TERMS

100% PURE COCONUT OIL

This is an example of misused terminology. In the strict sense, “100% pure” are or can be used in describing two categories: 1) 100% pure –natural (this means minor treatments were used in order to retain purity in natural ways, no harmful solvents were used), 2) 100% pure-refined (this means its purity was achieved by RBD or other treatments). Note that the consumer’s market definition of “100% pure” refers to natural only and considers “100% pure-refined” as not pure. However, if natural coconut oil is not processed properly, its purity can be less than refined varieties. The processor might not use solvents, but leave the product with very high moisture and free fatty acids content and other non-oily materials. This makes the “100% pure-natural” unstable and undesirable.

AFLATOXIN

A toxin produced by airborne moulds (aspergillum sp.) that typically grows in oily mediums.

COCONUT DRY-PROCESS

In the coconut industry, this refers to drying fresh coconut kernel to obtain desiccated coconut products, such as: shredded coconut, coconut chips, coconut flakes, coconut flour and coconut milk powder. In the modern context, since the advent of natural coconut oil and virgin coconut oil, this dry process is being done in village settings to make dry-processed virgin coconut oil.

COCONUT WET-PROCESS

This refers to processing fresh coconuts (instead of dried) into different products. CWP can use traditional or modern methods. Traditional CWP refers to village style, it produces coconut oil either for selling or for home use and coconut milk for home use only. Modern wet-process or Innovated Coconut Wet-Process is an innovation of traditional wet-process, improving the end products to have increased: consistency, product safety, and keeping quality. For example, virgin coconut oil made through this process eliminates the need for boiling/high-heating methods otherwise needed for separating the oil from coconut milk emulsion.

COCONUT MILK EMULSION

This is a thick liquid extract from fresh coconut kernel with or without the aid of water. Its components are: moisture, primary oil, and an insoluble solid (as protein). When the milk is left to stand for a while the liquid goes down and thick cream floats to the top layer (this is coconut cream). How separation of the oil from the cream is achieved makes a difference in the wet-process of virgin coconut oil.

COLD PRESSING

This is the most abused term in natural oil processing. Cold Pressing refers to the initial extraction of an oil emulsion or oleaginous substance from the host material. The premise of Cold Pressing is to eliminate solvent extraction, so the product is chemical free. There also should be no high heat generated during pressing, high heat can be avoided by using direct expeller press, hydraulic press, or other means. “Cold Pressing” does not designate what type of pressing machine is used. However, oil that has been cold pressed should not have been exposed to high heat before or after pressing.

Note: There are 3 basics of oil processing: material preparation, extraction, and final purification. The term cold pressing only applies to the middle – extraction.

Refined, bleached or deodorized oil can be cold pressed in the standard definition of the term. (See also “Purification” below). Marketers now employ the term “cold pressed” to imply ‘naturalness’ and ‘chemical free’ status to a variety of substances.

COPRA

Copra is the dried meat (or kernel) of the coconut. This is the standard start-up material for industrial processing of coconut oil. Copra is produced by cutting de-shelled coconuts in half and drying them by the following methods:

  1. Under the sun
  2. By kiln drying
  3. By smoke
  4. Or a combination of the above methods.
DIRECT MICRO EXPELLER PRESS

The word direct means the raw material (which is freshly dried coconut meat) is pressed directly, instead of using solvent. Since the direct material does not use typical copra drying, the oil expressed from this method is labeled as virgin oil. The drying method varies, but it is always faster than copra drying.

EXPELLER PRESS

This means the extraction is done by using expeller machines (different designs are available). It simply denotes that solvent extraction is replaced by mechanical extraction. If the intended product is cold-pressed, expeller pressing should be adjusted properly in order not to generate heat.

FRACTIONATED COCONUT OILS

Fractionation of coconut oil is done by using graduating temperatures and separating the higher melting point from lower melting point triglycerides. The resulting two components are solid (coconut stearin) and liquid (coconut olein) fractions. These fractionated oils are used in the food industry. In the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, fractionated coconut oil often refers to medium esters or esterified coconut fatty acids.

NOTE: Fractionated coconut oil as medium esters is done through hydrolysis of crude or refined coconut oil to separate glycerin and fatty acids. The coconut fatty acids are fractionated further for specific application and then re-esterified to form triglycerides. In theory, separating and concentrating specific fatty acids allows users to create a triglyceride with specific attributes.

MCFA

Medium Chain Fatty Acids; capric (C8), caprylic (C10) and lauric (C12) fatty acids. MCFA is very useful in health and nutrition. It is predominant in coconut oil, palm kernel oil babasu oil, and copaiba oil (in that order) and other related plant oils in lesser quantity. MCFA is noted for antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and stability both in the product and in the body. MCFA is also present in mother’s milk. MCFA is the main fatty acid backbone of coconut oil.

NOTE: MCFA is not MCT. MCFA and MCT are two different things. MCT is medium chain triglycerides; an oil made or derived from coconut or palm kernel oil to maximize the concentration of MCFA. This uses the same process as fractionated coconut oil.

Refining & RBD

Technically, refining means eliminating impurities from crude oil. The purpose is to make oil as close as to 100% purity as possible, removing non-oily material and traces of chemicals (if solvents were used during extraction). This is the first part of the purification stage of processing (1st = material preparation, 2nd = extraction, 3rd = purification). In marketing, the term refined means the complete series of purification which is RBD.

Virgin Oil de Coco-Crème™

Literally, untouched oil extracted from coconut milk. The raw material used for the recovery of this oil is fresh coconut milk extracted from high-grade fresh coconut meat (not copra and not just fresh coconut). Oil Extraction is achieved via an ‘innovated coconut wet-milling’ process, which uses cold pressing to obtain an emulsion and centrifugation to separate oil from water content. At no stage in the entire process from pressing to purification are heat or chemical treatments used. It is the most pure coconut oil.