How is refined palm oil made

Refining red palm oil from natural palm

The purpose of refining is to maintain or improve the organoleptic characteristics (neutral taste and odor, clarity, natural color), nutritional properties and fat stability. To do this, several steps are implemented to eliminate unwanted compounds (gums, waxes, free fatty acids, pigments, metal traces, and volatile odor compounds) and contaminants potentially present in the raw materials, while controlling the formation of new undesirable compounds by hydrolysis, oxidation or isomerization.

The conduct of the process can, if necessary, adapt to the subsequent use of the refined oils produced: a food use will lead the refiner to optimize its process in order to preserve the constituents of nutritional interest (polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E).

There are two types of refining: chemical and “physical”, which should be called “neutralizing distillation”. Chemical refining removes free fatty acids by a neutralization step with sodium hydroxide; Neutralizing distillation (our technique) removes these undesirable compounds by distillation under high vacuum with steam injection. The process is summarized as follows:

Crude Oil  —-   Cooking Process —- Cooling & Decantation —- Filtration & Recovery —- Storage of the refined oil