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    Fortification of edible oil: Pro and Cons.

    Oil fortification is the process of adding micro-nutrients (Vitamins, Zinc, etc)  to edible oil to increase its nutritional value. The general reason for fortification of foods is to deliberately increase the content of an essential micro-nutrient such as vitamins and minerals. These fortified foods seek to improve the nutritional quality of the foods as well as confer additional health benefits to the consumer, if possible with little or no risk to health. In general simple terms, fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health”, while enrichment is defined as “synonymous with fortification and refers to the addition of micronutrients to a food which are lost during processing”


    It is worth noting that, apart from edible oils and fats, sugar, flours, milk, condiments and cereal grains have also been fortified successfully. Fortification of oil with vitamin A, has existed in other parts of the world for several decades and could be traced to around 1950s. Fortification has since become the top-priority of most countries because it is one of the surest ways, considered effective and low cost for improving the consumption of nutritious foods which in the long term will reduce the health burden on individuals and nationalities.

    Scientists believe that there’s a destruction of the vitamin A in vitamin A-fortified oil when they are subjected to high cooking temperatures. It is unclear if our traditional Ghanaian and African cooking habits can retain enough quantities of the vitamin A when the food is ready for consumption. Currently, there’s no published scientific data on the quantities of the vitamin A from the fortified oil left in foods prepared with some vitamin A-fortified brands. In a study conducted in Pakistan, the loss of vitamin A in fortified edible oils during cooking in Asian style was assessed and the study revealed that the percentage loss of vitamin A in oil was higher when the fortified oil was heated up to 250°C (the temperature at which oils generally begin to smoke). The study also compared the results to cooking with such fortified oils the Pakistani way “adding condiments, water and food items and then heating the mixture till the cooking of the food was complete”. The same study also posited that, frying in open air for longer time at high temperatures, destroys the vitamin A more rapidly, and the amount of vitamin A lost could also be accounted for by use and re-use of cooking oil. It is however a common scientific knowledge backed by facts that for the first 20-25 minutes of cooking with vitamin A-fortified oil, the loss is immediate.  Hence, your vitamin A-fortified oils must be kept in closed containers and not exposed to oxygen and light to help preserve the vitamin A in them prior to cooking.

    It is advised that, you do not heat your oil till the emergence of smoke before adding your condiments and food items, because about 50-55% of the Vitamin A could be lost.

    The good thing with SUNGLO, it is naturally processed and all the nutrients are preserved so there is no risk of missing any micro-nutrients especially vitamin E.

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