Oil palm is the highest oil producing plant, with an average yield of 3.5 tons of oil/ha/year. In 2006, palm oil became the world’s most important edible oil with 37 million tons produced, accounting for 25% of the total oils and fats production. In Cameroon, palm oil meets 80% of total edible oil needs and it is estimated that 30% of crude palm oil (CPO) production is provided by none industrial oil mills. However, previous studies tend to demonstrate that, there was a problem with the consumption of CPO with respect to food safety. In the present study, the effect of processing methods and storage time on some physico-chemical parameters of Cameroonian CPO was assayed. Results showed that, lipid peroxidation and oil acidity significantly increased in palm oil samples from none industrial oil mills during the first four weeks of storage; thus making them unfit for human consumption. Both processes were enhanced by moisture and impurity levels of the oil at the outset above 0.1 and 0.01% respectively. Despite its many other benefic properties, this is a clear indication that, CPO from inappropriate extraction processes is becoming a real problem in sub-Saharan African countries regarding food safety.
Key words: Food safety, oil acidity, peroxide value, crude palm oil, FFA, oil palm.
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