Rice bran oil of three of the 12 Bangladeshi brands is below par, says a government study.
The oil of the three brands does not contain the standard level of Omega proteins, the study conducted by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) has found.
“Rice bran oil is gaining popularity among consumers due to many health benefits. But we found that 25 percent of the oil lacks beneficial ingredients like Omega-3 and Omega-6,” said Monirul Islam, director at BARC's nutrition unit.
BARC collected samples of 12 local brands and carried out the test in Ahmadabad, India. It also found that none of the products matched their claims on the labels, he told The Daily Star.
The country was highly dependent on imports of soybean, the ingredient used for producing cooking oil, before rice bran oil was introduced in 2010 as a healthy alternative to soybean oil.
Since then, rice bran oil started gaining popularity and carved a niche market.
Rice bran oil is extracted from cereal germ and inner husk of rice. It contains vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and is free of trans fat.
According to a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, rice bran oil lowers cholesterol in healthy adults.
Besides, it contains almost all essential fatty acids, and is free from monosodium glutamate, one of the main culprits behind obesity.
Experts say the regulators, manufacturers, and marketers must make concerted efforts to upgrade the quality of rice bran oil to preserve its market.
Contacted, an official of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) said they were not aware of the report.
The official, however, said the BSTI regularly monitors the quality of rice bran oil.
“We test the quality of the product before permitting companies to market them. A surveillance team and mobile court regularly checks the quality of oil,” mentioned the official, wishing not to be named.
Industry insiders said that at present it is not possible for the rice bran oil producers to check the amount of Omega-3 in every batch of production as such process would be expensive and time consuming.
Rice bran oil is an agricultural product and its quality may vary from product to product and batch to batch, they pointed out.