What should you be looking for when you choose coconut oil? Are you a little lost by all the different coconut oil descriptions? What exactly does ‘Virgin’ and cold pressed mean?
Below are explanations of what the different coconut oil descriptions mean and the ‘signals’ to look for and ensure you choose the best coconut oil for your health, beauty and fitness regimes.
What to Look for on the Label
- Coconut Oil Descriptions
- Quality Signals
- Trade Associations
- Certification Bodies
- Ethical Indicators
Coconut oil is very popular as a cooking medium and ingredient, plus its other qualities, such as being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal means it is ideal for the treatment of a range of conditions, including dry skin and hair.
Coconut Oil Descriptions
- Organic coconut oil
- Raw coconut oil
- Refined coconut oil
- Unrefined coconut oil
- Virgin coconut oil
Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Cold pressing describes the way the oil is extracted from the white meat of the coconut. Cold pressing is carried out at a controlled temperature of between 104 – 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Organic Coconut Oil
For a coconut oil to use the term ‘organic’ it must be certified by a recognized organic certification body like the ‘Organic Food Federation’ or ‘The Soil Association.’ Buying organic means protecting our individual health and the health of the planet since pesticides and intensive farming practices are avoided.
Raw Coconut Oil
To describe coconut oil as Raw there has been no heat above 113F, no pasteurization, no fumigation, no hydrogenation nor other artificial process involved. It is probably the most natural process you can find for consuming coconut oil.
Refined Coconut Oil
This type of coconut oil is typically made from dried coconut, known as copra and it goes through various processes including being bleached and deodorized and therefore will have virtually no coconut aroma or taste.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
This is coconut oil in its most natural state, which hasn’t been altered in any way and no additives, hydrogenation, deodorization or bleaching. It will have a delicate coconut aroma and is known as “Virgin” coconut oil.
Virgin Coconut Oil = Unrefined Coconut Oil
The 5 Coconut Oil Quality Signals
First check the label for organic certification logos. Second, is the oil cold-pressed, Virgin, Raw and from a single estate? A single estate means it is non ‘blended’ oil. Blended oils come from more than one estate and the oil quality variable.
The Vegan Society
The use of the Vegan Society’s trademark ensures that not only is the food free from animal genes or animal-derived substances, but also free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).
The Vegetarian Society
A Vegetarian Society trademark guarantees there has been no cross-contamination with non-vegetarian products during the production process and is cruelty free, which means the product has not been tested on animals.
Below are some of the best-known certification bodies for food standards in the UK and globally. A quality coconut oil will meet some or all of these standards.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
This is a UK government department that regulates food production and distribution, which means that foods are traceable.
Kashrut Division – London Beth Din (KLBD)
This is a kosher certification. Kosher means ‘acceptable’ in terms of a healthy diet and certification means the food and the process has passed inspection by qualified food technologists, food chemists and rabbis.
BRC Global Standard
This is a global safety and quality certification recognised in ninety countries.
How to Choose Coconut Oil – Summary
Look out for virgin, raw and organic (certified by a recognised certification body) coconut oil. Coconut oil in glass is preferable and if you want the peace of mind of knowing the producers are getting their fair share, look out for a Fair Trade logo.