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NoveLin sales to benefit from Korea’s nutrition guidelines

September 25, 2009 1 comment

GREEN Ocean Corp Bhd, formerly known as Online One Bhd, is banking on the new Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) nutrition guidelines, to push sales of its NoveLin cooking oil that doubles up as salad oil.From next year, KFDA will tighten laws to promote healthy food manufacturing, lower sugar, sodium and trans fat in children’s snacks.In the last two decades, the prevalence of overweight children and adolescents has increased by 1.5 times.

Experts, concerned that childhood obesity rate is faster there than in western countries, called for mandatory nutrition labelling. Since July 2007, KFDA has required snacks, instant noodles and ready-to-eat meals to bear nutrition labels listing the amount of calories, carbohydrates, sugar, protein, total fats, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.

South Korea’s health authorities, also concerned about hazardous oxidised substances formed in repeatedly-used deepfry oils, are mandating fast food restaurants to switch to blends of higher smoke point.

At extreme deepfry heat of 180°C-200°C, harmful oxidised substance like “polar compounds” and trans fat start to accumulate in the oil. If the oil is not changed with each frying batch, the toxic substance gets absorbed into fried food and eventually end up in our body system. Long-term consumption of burnt oils can lead to stunted growth, irregular metabolism and reproductive complications.

Traditionally, South Korean fast food restaurants use softoils like rice bran, sunflower, soya and canola.

“Restaurants using softoils have to replenish the supply every two days to prevent burnt oil toxicity,” said Green Ocean managing director Lee Byoung Jin.

“With NoveLin, however, restaurateurs can use the oil for three days before the next change,” he told Business Times in an interview.

“We’re introducing NoveLin, a healthier palm oil blend that has good oxidative stability compared with pure softoils,” he added.

Also present at the interview was Lipochem Sdn Bhd research director Dr Cheah Kien Yoo. Lipochem is the process engineer that designed and built Green Ocean’s NoveLin plant in Klang, Selangor.

Cheah highlighted Grootveld, MARTIN; Silwood; Addis; Claxson; Serra; Viana (2001). “Health Effects of Oxidized Heated Oils” Foodservice Research International 13: 41. The 2001 parallel review of 20-year dietary fat studies in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Spain concluded that polyunsaturated oils like soya, canola, sunflower and corn degrade easily to toxic compounds when heated up. Prolonged consumption of burnt oils lead to atherosclerosis, inflammatory joint disease and development of birth defects.

The scientists also questioned global health authories’ wilful recommendation of large amounts of polyunsaturated fats into the human diet without accompanying measures to ensure the protection of these fatty acids against heat-and oxidative-degradation.

“NoveLin, being of palm oil and softoils, has lower saturated fat content. Considering that this cooking oil blend is all natural, not genetically-modified and free from the deadly trans fat, we’re confident of helping fast food restaurants meet KFDA goals,” Lee said.

“We now have 500 fast food outlets testing NoveLin to make sure the food taste the same,” he said.“Our first shipment was 100,000 litres. The second, of 200,000 litres, will leave for South Korea next month,” he added.

Formulated to meet World Health Organisation and American Heart Association recommendations, NoveLin is proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases because the blend is rich in antioxidants like omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and tocotrienols.

NoveLin also has an extra selling point over other salad oils. “NoveLin is packed with supervitamin E, which the much-touted heart healthy olive oil does not possess,” Lee said. Tocotrienols or supervitamin E, can reduce cholesterol and has anti-cancer properties.

Green Ocean posted RM21.58 million revenue in the first quarter ended June 2009, a slight decrease from RM22.51 million a year ago. The group’s ICT business continues to suffer from setbacks and this is reflected in the RM1.59 million loss, a further decline from the RM1.20 million loss a year ago. Lee also attributed the loss to amortisation of its palm kernel crushing plant.

Asked on the group’s outlook for the rest of the financial year, he remains hopeful of NoveLin exports helping Green Ocean to break even.

Trade barrier behind Greenpeace & FOE’s anti-palm oil lobby

September 23, 2009 4 comments

RECENT attacks against palm oil by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (FOE) were motivated by politics and trade, rather than genuine concern for environmental conservation.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron said Greenpeace and FOE, have vehemently blamed farmers in developing countries for deforestation, but remained silent on forest fires and rampant pollution in developed nations.

Lately, they went as far as to recommend rival vegetable oils that are of lower yield to consumers.

Last month, Cadbury New Zealand announced it will remove palm oil from its chocolate, as it succumb to the pressure group and their affiliates’ well-strategised attacks.

In demanding Cadbury New Zealand to use cocoa butter instead of palm fat in chocolates, Greenpeace and FOE have revealed their hypocrisy. “Are these ‘so-called greenies’ aware that 10 times more land needs to be allocated for planting of cocoa trees just to produce the same amount of palm fat?” Yusof said in a recent interview with Business Times.

In another related event, Greenpeace had also attacked dairy giant Fonterra for using palm kernel animal feed, claiming that it results in deforestation. The NGO had singled out Fonterra for criticism because the dairy giant owns half of RD1, a New Zealand-based importer of palm kernel expeller for animal feed.

In response, New Zealand’s Federated Farmers said palm kernel is actually of very little value that the alternative to recycling it into animal feed is to burn it. Therefore, it is misleading to suggest that using the waste to create animal feed is damaging to the environment.

Federated Farmers’ biosecurity spokesperson John Hartnell said, “not a single millimetre of forest was being cleared just to feed dairy cows.”

“Palm kernel extract is a waste by-product left over from the processing of palm oil for consumer products,” he said, adding “oil palm plantations aren’t created just to generate a waste by-product, just as newspapers don’t exist solely to support recycling.”

On the 16th of September, fifteen Greenpeace protesters boarded the Hong Kong-registered freighter East Ambition, lashing themselves to cranes and the anchor, to prevent the ship from docking. They were protesting Fonterra’s palm kernel imports for use as animal feed. The New Zealand police removed them once the ship docked that night. They were ‘charge with illegally boarding a vessel’ and will appear in the Tauranga District Court this week.

Fonterra’s rural merchandising company RD1 dismissed Greenpeace’s protest as a dangerous publicity stunt that “potentially damage New Zealand’s reputation as a law abiding country,” said chief executive John Lea.

While RD1 respects the basic human right to protest legally, Lea said Greenpeace had crossed the line by interfering with legal commerce and free navigation on the high seas. “They should be prosecuted as pirates.”

Yusof said Greenpeace and FOE’s demand for New Zealand farmers to stop using palm kernel meal for dairy cows will cause milk yield to decline. That is because cows that consume palm kernel meal produce more milk than those on corn or soya meal diet. “Without the high protein palm kernel meal, dairy farmers will need to enlarge grazing areas. This means more land will need to be deforested in New Zealand,” he said.

“In the last 200 years, New Zealand temperate forest is already mostly wiped out by settlements. Trees were logged to make way for grazing land, to produce milk, meat and wool which now make up the main exports of New Zealand.

“Why are these agricultural products, produced out of deforested land in New Zealand, acceptable to Greenpeace but palm oil, an agricultural product from Malaysia, demonised?” Yusof asked.

Both countries cleared land for agricultural purposes long ago, and the extent of deforestation was much more extensively carried out in New Zealand compared to Malaysia. Yet, no questions were raised on this matter.

“Why are these NGOs selectively criticising developing countries when the land clearance is starkly obvious in developed countries like New Zealand?” Yusof asked.

Forest, be they temperate or tropical, are valuable in cleaning up carbon dioxide to prevent global warming. “Why are tropical forest the only target for preservation? Why are these NGOs ignoring the over-deforestation that had taken place in developed countries that continues till today?” he pressed on.

Yusof said if the intention of the NGOs is to reduce carbon emission, let the focus be on the real culprit. “Fossil fuel usage contributes up to 80 per cent of global carbon dioxide emission and this is happening in developed countries. But guess who gets the blame – China and India.”

He said palm oil, a significant export earner for Malaysia and Indonesia, is planted on legitimate agricultural lands, just like competing soyabean or rapeseed oils. “To climb out of the poverty trap, many farmers plant oil palms, earning US$20 per day (RM69.60). Greenpeace and FOE’s anti-palm oil campaign only serves to threaten the livelihoods of farmers in developing nations,” he said. “These ‘so-called greenies’ claim to champion environmental conservation but their discriminating attacks are driving poor nations poorer and the rich, richer.”

Malaysia and New Zealand are due to sign a free trade agreement next month. Among products that will see tax reduction are dairy, meat and palm products. One wonders if Greenpeace and FOE’s timely criticism of New Zealand’s palm product consumption is coincidental.

To know oil palm trees is to love palm oil

September 10, 2009 2 comments

Did you know that 1 in 8 working Malaysians is dependent or is in a job that deals with the palm oil industry?

Many assume that the palm oil industry is just confined to farmers. But it is more than that. Bankers, insurance companies, freight forwarders, cargo surveyors, scientists are also part of the sprawling palm oil supply chain.

Malaysia is lucky to have oil above and below the ground.

By 2020, Malaysia can expect more foreign revenue from palm oil produced by oil palm trees, instead of petroleum extracted from the depths of the ocean surrounding our shores.

As you can see, Bank Negara has given due recognition to the oil palm industry.

If you compare the new RM50 note with the old, you will see the central bank has replaced the picture of an oil rig with that of an oil palm tree.

Today, Malaysia’s sprawling palm oil industry is employing more talents. The industry entails production of margarine, cooking oil, oleochemicals, transport and storage of palm oil at the ports, palm oil futures trading at brokerages, design and build of refineries and biodiesel plants, animal feed, vitamin E extraction and even the development of nutrient-enriched moisturisers and toothpaste.

While palm oil is the world’s most consumed vegetable oil, it is not yet truly appreciated and recognised for its nutritional and medical benefits. A quick search on the internet show that the bulk of literature on vegetable oils favours softoils like olive, soybean, rapeseed and sunflower over tropical oils.

Many think that since palm oil is the cheapest vegetable oil, it is not that nutritious. This is not true. The fact is — palm oil contain tocotrienols or super vitamin E that has cholesterol lowering properties while softoils do not.

Even in Malaysia, the world’s biggest palm oil exporter, the average consumer sees palm cooking oil as laden with saturated fats (and therefore unhealthy).

Indeed, public awareness among Malaysians on the difference between palm oil and kernel oil is still lacking.

Let’s start from the begining. Unlike other vegetable oils, you can extract two types of oils from palm fruits.

The oil from palm fruit is widely used as a cooking oil, as an ingredient in margarine, and is a component of many processed foods.On the other hand, palm kernel oil is an important component of many soaps, washing powders and personal care products.

Palm oil is naturally reddish because it contains a high amount of carotenes. Palm oil carotenoids have comparative alpha-carotene and beta-carotene distribution as carrots. Red palm oil has 15 times the amounts of carotenes in carrots and 300 times more than in tomatoes. Just one tablespoon of red palm oil meets 100% of the adult reference dietary intake.

Palm oil is a unique vegetable oil because it contains a balanced ratio of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Often consumers tend to perceive palm oil as similar to coconut oil, which is also high in lauric and myristic acids. This misconception has led many to believe that palm oil is ‘unhealthy’ for food.

Although, palm oil is grown in the tropical regions, compared to other tropical oils, its saturated fat content is approximately 30% less than coconut oil. Studies have found that, unlike coconut oil, palm oil’s impact on serum lipid and lipoprotein profiles compares favourably to corn oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, and olive oil.

Since palm oil is relatively higher in saturated fats than corn, soybean and olive oils, it makes a stable cooking oil. Palm oil can withstand very high heat. It does not break down or oxidise easily when used in deepfry cooking.

Like all other vegetable oils, palm oil is cholesterol-free.

To extract palm oil, the fruit of the palm oil tree is collected and pressed, yielding a rich, dark-red oil which is high in carotene.

When the oil is exposed to heat through processing and cooking, it rapidly loses the carotene.

However, with the new refining technology, more than 90% of the natural carotenes and vitamin E can be retained.

That is why regular palm cooking oil (like Seri Murni, Neptune, Red Eagle, Knife, Cap Buruh, Serimas, Saji and others) is still dark orange.