We frequently get the question: “is your oil “cold pressed” ?”.
Well – yes and no.
First, some transparency:
The references we mainly use for oil quality are:
- The American Oil Chemist Society (of which we are members).
- Codex Alimentarius (a document supported by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations – Guidelines and Codes since 1963 for food safety and quality – Link to Codex
- Bailey’s Oils and Fats, 6th Edition.
These resources represent the collective knowledge of many oil producers and analytical labs gathered over many years to establish best practices for oil quality and safety. After all – we are selling food ingredients to be used in cosmetics that sit on peoples counters for… unknown years so quality is crucial.
Back to “cold pressed”: the term is generally a marketing term. Why?
A few facts about the organic oils we sell:
1 – most organic vegetable oils are mechanically pressed using stainless steel equipment. These presses have different designs but the goal is always the same: get as much oil as possible out of the seeds or fruit. For organic they can only use mechanical methods (no solvents).
2 – The pressure plus the friction used to press the oil out of the seed will always generate some amount of heat. That is unavoidable.
3 – Every oil has a different tolerance for heat – most of us know you do not fry with olive oil but you can fry with canola, for example. So – what is the significance of the heat for a specific oil if all oils are so different?
4 – All of the references cited above agree that the technical meaning of “cold pressed” from someone that actually makes the oil is a) oil pressed without the addition of heat, or b) an agreement between the buyer and oil producer. So, unless you are buying 80,000 lbs. of oil it is unlikely you can have any say on the production method.
While there are companies all over the internet making claims about “cold pressed’ I suspect that few of them have any idea how their oil is actually made (with the exception of Laurel Skin!).
When we contract with a supplier we go to the manufacturing press, if at all possible. We require a production flow chart and we analyze the oil in addition to the analysis that they send us. We spend money every month monitoring the quality of the oil – because that is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than making random claims. We want to know how the chemistry of the oil is changing over time to ensure the you have the best quality oil possible.
The important thing about oil is to know what it’s chemistry looks like. Check out our blog on “Peroxide Value” to learn more about oil quality.