Edible oils are becoming an important food source with more than 202 million tonnes consumed from 238 million tonnes produced in 2019.
Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Science and Environment Division director Dr Ruslan Abdullah said however, that edible oils are prone to many contaminants, which can be biological, physical or chemical in nature.
“Even though the nutrition value of food is important, if the contaminants were consumed above the threshold limit, it may be considered hazardous.
“In general exogenous contaminants can be removed or reduced during refining, but for contaminants such as long-chain mineral oils, no technology is available today,” he said during MPOC’s webinar series: Malaysia’s Palm Oil Industry Regulation and Quality Standard.
Thus, he said there was a need to balance between removal of harmful contaminants and the formation of new contaminants and production costs.
“This remained a technical challenge as to how to introduce flexibility to refineries without increasing costs,” he added.
Nevertheless, Sumwin Solutions Malaysia Sdn Bhd attests that the technology it offers to mitigate 3MCPDE (3-monochloro-propanediol esters) and GE (glycidyl esters) formation during palm oil refining, is able to solve the problem, as it is designed from a practitioner’s perspective.
3MCPDE and GE are substances that can be found in refined oils and fats.
Sumwin Group founder and chief executive officer U.R. Unnithan said the company’s technology would reduce the level of a potentially harmful chemical compound from palm oil, with more than 80% of organic chloride taken out without causing loss of oil in the system.
“We don’t use any additive, no emulsification, the system is fully automated, and we guarantee to our users less than 0.1% goes to waste.
In addition, Unnithan said Sumwin’s technology is cost-effective, both from a capital expenditure (capex) and operating expense (opex) perspective.
“For a typical 1,500 tonne per day refinery, our calculations showed that companies could save as much as US$3 million per year, if you deploy our technology over alternate technologies in the market,” he added.