Palm oil is one of the seventeen edible oils possessing an FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization) Food Standard under the CODEX Alimentarius Comission Programme (which is to protect the health of consumers and to facilitate the trade of food by setting international standards on foods)

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Palm oil is extracted from the flesh of a palm fruit solely by cooking and pressing. It should be clearly distinguished from palm kernel oil and coconut oil because it has lower level of saturated components with no significant content of capric, lauric and myristic acids.

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Palm oil contains an equal proportion of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids with about 44% palmitic acid, 5% stearic acid (both saturated), 40% oleic acid (monounsaturated), 10% linoleic acid and 0.4% alpha linolenic acid (both polyunsaturate)

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Presently, palm oil is consumed world wide as cooking oil, in margarine and shortenings and is also incorporated into fat blends and a wide variety of food products.

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For most food uses, palm oil does not require hydrogenation, thus avoiding the formation of trans-fatty acids.

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Refined palm oil, as used in foods, is a rich source of tocopherols and tocotrienols, having Vitamin E activity. Red palm oil is the only commercially available rich source of carotenoids and can be used as pro-vitamin A activity.

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