How safe is your mustard oil ?

For centuries, mustard oil has been used as an edible oil as well as cure for all kinds of ailments, and despite the occasional doubts that are generated by research concerning its side effects, its place in many households across India (the eastern and northern parts in particular) remains intact. But are they all safe for consumption, keeping in mind aspects such as adulteration? How can we know whether there are other oils in the mustard oil? How many of us know that the oil must not have any traces of argemone oil? Is the oil rancid? Consumer VOICE has tested top 13 brands of mustard oil based on certain specific parameters to find out the best mustard oil in the market.

What is Mustard Oil?

Mustard oil (Sarson ka tel) is a vegetable oil and is obtained from seeds of the mustard plant. The oil is extracted from clean and sound mustard seeds, which belong to species namely compestris, juncea or napus varities of brassica. Large quantity of the mustard oil as traditional oil is used for edible purpose in many states of India namely J&K, Himachal Pradesh,Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madya Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and some regions of Maharastra & north eastern states. Noticeably, India is the fourth largest oilseed producing country in the world, with mustard seeds playing a major part in this.

What is Kachchi ghani?

Kachchi ghani refers to cold press extraction process for taking out oil from seeds. Traditionally, oil from seeds were extracted in kohlus (wooden & now steel rollers). In this process, seeds are crushed at low temperature so that natural properties, antioxidants and essential oils are retained in the oil.

What tests were conducted for adulteration with cheap oils?

The tests were conducted to check adulteration of mustard oil with cheap oils like palm, mineral oil etc..

What are the types of mustard oil as per Indian standard?

The mustard oil shall be of the following types and grades:

 a) Expressed Type

1) Refined

2) Virgin (Kachi Ghani), and

3) Expeller.

b) Solvent-Extracted Type

1) Refined, and

2) Grade I

The expressed mustard oils and refined solvent extracted mustard oil are suitable for direct edible consumption.

Grade I of the solvent-extracted type is suitable for making refined oil and not for direct edible consumption.

Which brands of mustard oils were taken up for comparative testing?

Thirteen  brands of kachchi ghani mustard oils namely dalda, Dhara, Emami, Engine, Fortune, Nature Fresh, Kanodia, Mahakosh, Fresh & Pure,P Mark, Patanjali, Reliance, Tez were taken up for comparative testing.

What standards and test methodology were used for testing?

The comparative testing has been carried out in an NABL-accredited laboratory and test parameters were mainly adopted from national standards i.e. Food Safety & Standards Regulation and relevant Indian standard.

Which edible oil is good for you?

It is beneficial to consume a mix of edible oils to maintain a balance between the three fatty acids. All oils are good in one way or the other. It is advisable to use a combination of oils, either blended or by rotation so that you get the benefit of all.

What are the findings of the test?

Details of survey on various parameters are available in the 'May 2019 Consumer VOICE Print and Digital Magazine’