In the present investigation an attempt has been made to find out total free fatty acid and cholesterol content in some commercial edible oils in Ethiopia, Bahir Dar. Acid value, peroxide value, saponification value and cholesterol content were determined in a total of nine varieties of edible vegetable oils of which six are branded and three are non-branded. The analysis, performed using Liebermann-Burchard method, revealed varying levels of cholesterol content. Cholesterol was detected in seven of the vegetable oils while for two oil samples (Niger seed k-16 and Niger seed k-7) it was nil. Rapeseed branded vegetable oil has significantly highest cholesterol concentration (257.1 ± 0.42 mg/L) while branded palm oil has the least concentration (88.8 ± 0.85 mg/L) of cholesterol. Unlike the peroxide value, all the acid values and some saponification values show high values in comparison with the maximum permissibility level of codex standard for named vegetable oils (CODEX STAN210-1999). In conclusion, this study could be a guide line, to understand the quality of vegetable oils in Ethiopia, Bahir Dar. Consequently, these studies have been able to show that there is no cholesterol free oil in the market as opposed to what is claimed on the vegetable oil brand labels. Therefore, companies producing and marketing vegetable oils are enjoined to desist from misleading the public by labeling their products as “cholesterol free”. They should indicate the amount of cholesterol present in the vegetable oil, no matter how small the quantity may be.
Key words: Edible oils, free fatty acid, cholesterol, peroxide value, saponification value and liebermann-Burchard test
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