Packaged cooking oil or bulk oil is included in the nine staple foods (sembako) that are often used by
Indonesian people. It is an organic liquid which is insoluble in water but still soluble in
Usually, the cooking oil used for frying food belongs to the group of oils that will not harden if allowed
to dry in air (non-drying oil). Well, in Indonesia there are two types of non-drying cooking
oil, namely packaged cooking oil and bulk cooking oil.
The second type is more widely used by the public because the price is cheaper, but in terms of quality, it
is still below packaged cooking oil. Therefore, the government banned the sale of bulk cooking
oil directly to consumers in 2015.
Unfortunately, until now there are still those who still use bulk cooking oil for economic reasons or
because they do not know the dangers. So, in this article we will discuss cooking oil further,
including its dangers to the health of the body.
Definition of Bulk Oil
Bulk oil or bulk cooking oil is a product derived from palm oil that is not pure and is sold to consumers in
plastic packaging without a brand or label.
Even though it is only a derivative product, bulk cooking oil has gone through the stages of refining,
bleaching, and deodorizing. However, in terms of quality, it cannot be compared to packaged
The reason is because in bulk cooking oil there is a higher content of fatty acids which causes this oil to
spoil more easily. According to tempo.co , bulk cooking oil contains:
- Saturated fatty acids: myristic 1% – 5%, pamitic 5% – 15%, and stearic 5% – 10%
- Unsaturated fatty acids: oleic 70% – 80%, linoleic 3% – 11%, palmitoelic 0.8% – 1.4%
If you look at the SNI standard requirements, it seems that bulk cooking oil does not meet the peroxide
number criteria. According to the standard, the maximum peroxide value in good cooking oil is
Bulk Cooking Oil Manufacturing Process
Bulk cooking oil is produced from used cooking oil with a traditional manufacturing process that is not as
good as premium cooking oil. In the manufacture of bulk cooking oil, the refining process is
only carried out with a pressure of three bars. In fact, ideally it should be done with four
bars because the higher the pressure level, the better the quality of the oil produced.
Then, in order to reduce production costs and reduce selling prices, bulk oil producers only carry out the
process of separating solids and liquids for only ten hours. Meanwhile, premium cooking oil
producers do it for twenty hours.
When used, in plain view the results of frying between bulk cooking oil and premium cooking oil are indeed
similar. However, when viewed from the refining process, the quality and free fatty acids in
bulk cooking oil can make a difference.
In terms of safety, bulk cooking oil is clearly more susceptible to contamination due to the distribution
process which uses tanks, drums, conductors, and plastic bags. The result could be that during
storage, there are insects or rats that enter the storage area. Or it could also be that the
storage area is damaged, rusty, and dirty.
The danger of using bulk cooking oil for
Because bulk cooking oil does not have quality in accordance with the existing standard requirements, it
means that there is no health guarantee in it at all. Here are some risks that might arise if
you consume too much fried food with bulk cooking oil.
Free Radicals in the Body Increase
Research published in the journal of the National Institutes of Health states that bulk cooking oil that
has reached its boiling point can lead to the formation of free radicals in the body.
Too many free radicals can cause oxidative stress to damage cells in the body.
In this study it was also shown that the bodies of mice that consumed bulk oil that had been heated three times
experienced changes in condition and body tissues as well as changes in antioxidant enzymes.
Antioxidants themselves have an important role in the immune system. So if there is a change
it can affect the system. Not enough to stop there, through this study, it was discovered that
there was damage to the colon and liver of the rats that were the subject of the study.
Increases the Risk of Breast Cancer and
In a study published in the Journal of Chemical Education, Medan State University , it turns out that bulk
oil contains compounds that have carcinogenic properties during the frying process.
In addition, the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and nutrients in bulk cooking oil have apparently undergone
changes that can endanger the health of the body. If used for a long time, bulk oil can cause
various health problems. Such as food poisoning, cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease,
to breast cancer.
Bulk Cooking Oil Is Vulnerable to Damage
As previously mentioned, the distribution of bulk cooking oil from producers to consumers is done
traditionally using equipment such as conductors, drums, and so on. This method can actually
reduce the quality of bulk oil, you know .
In 2017, Eva Yulia et al conducted a study to see the quality of bulk cooking oil circulating in
traditional markets in the Jabotabek area in closed and open storage. From the results of this
study it was found that:
- The smell of bulk cooking oil stored using closed and open storage for 2 weeks is still normal.
However, after entering the third and fourth weeks, the smell turns a bit rancid.
Well, this slightly rancid smell appears due to contact between oxygen and bulk oil which then
causes an oxidation process.
- The color of bulk cooking oil in closed and open storage for 2 weeks was yellow and pale yellow
(normal). After the third and fourth week, the color changes to yellow-brown.
The color of the oil can indeed change depending on the carotene pigment dissolved in it.
If the color turns dark, you can be sure that the oil is damaged and should not be used
- The moisture content of bulk cooking oil that is stored in a closed manner is of good quality, while
oil that is stored openly does not meet national requirements. This is because water has
ingredients that can trigger the growth of enzyme-producing microbes. These enzymes can
hydrolyze fat and cause rancidity in oil.
- In general, the peroxide value of bulk oil that is stored closed meets the requirements, but that
which is stored openly does not meet the requirements. The peroxide value itself is a value
that can be used to determine the degree of damage to an oil or grease.
Generally, the peroxide value can increase due to the oxidation process, temperature, and light.
So, because in traditional markets, bulk oil is usually exposed to direct sunlight, so the
temperature is higher. In addition, before being packaged and sold to consumers, the oil is
allowed to open, thereby affecting the temperature.
Characteristics of Good Quality Cooking Oil
From the explanation above, it can be concluded that there are many risks that threaten the health of the
body in bulk cooking oil. This means, you have to be smart in choosing quality oil.
However, what are the characteristics of good quality oil? To find out the quality of good
cooking oil, there are 5 things that you can use as a benchmark, namely color and level of clarity, aroma,
consistency, composition, and smoke point when used. To make it clearer, see the full
Color and Clarity
Actually the first thing you should see when choosing cooking oil is not the brand label on the package,
but the color and level of clarity of the oil. It is recommended to choose oil that is clear,
clean, and not concentrated.
As for the color, choose a brownish yellow but still look bright. Never choose cooking oil
that is dark brown in color because that color indicates that the oil has been used for frying.
Also avoid oils that are too white in color because it is possible that the oil has been mixed with additional
oil lightening chemicals which are harmful to the body.
Good quality cooking oil usually has a fresh aroma, not overpowering, and does not smell rancid.
The fresh aroma of cooking oil can indicate the quality and time of production.
If the aroma is not pleasant, it means the oil has been damaged. Usually bulk oil processed
from used cooking oil can be detected by its aroma.
Avoid buying oils that smell rancid or fishy because the quality of the oil is certain to be damaged.
If you eat foods that are fried using oil like this, it is likely that your health problems will be
This level of consistency needs to be considered carefully because it relates to quality. Good
quality cooking oil is definitely not thick and rather thick, some of which even looks like water.
Oil that is not too concentrated will not be absorbed into the food during the frying process.
Conversely, if it is too thick, the food will look greasy and if consumed will cause a sore
In general, the thicker the cooking oil, the quality needs to be questioned because it could be that the
oil has been used many times. In addition, quality oil usually does not freeze easily because
it contains a small amount of saturated fat.
The easiest way to determine the quality of cooking oil is to look at the composition table on the cooking
oil packaging. Every time you choose cooking oil, try to read carefully what the ingredients
are in it.
Usually, quality cooking oil has several other ingredients such as vitamins and various sources of
nutrition so that the oil becomes more nutritious. Now even many manufacturers are adding omega
6 to their products.
Ideally, the more complete the nutritional value in the oil, the higher the price and the safer it can be
ensured. Even so, you still have to limit its use, okay!
Smoke Point When Used
The smoke point is, in short, the highest temperature that cooking oil can reach before it starts to burn.
After burning, the enzymes and nutrients in the oil will be lost.
If you consume oil that has exceeded its smoke point (burns) for a long time, you will most likely
experience various health problems. Then how to see the smoke point?
Unfortunately, the smoke point can only be seen when you use oil for frying, and the average smoke point for
cooking oil on the market is 230 degrees Celsius.
Usually, it reaches its smoke point after two to three uses, more than that the oil gets hot and smokes
faster. This indicates that the content in it has changed and damaged.
Types of cooking oil that are safe for the
health of the body
Actually, frying is not a recommended cooking method because it can have a bad effect on health.
However, who can resist fried food? Therefore, you can reduce the bad effects of
cooking oil by choosing the type of oil that is safe for your health, including:
Olive oil has long been believed to be an oil that has many benefits. And that is indeed the
case because olive oil contains fatty acids and antioxidants which are very good for the health of the body
In the book Benefits of Olive Oil – One Oil, Many Benefits Made Astawan, Tutik Wresdiyati, Nurayla Arnas Nasution
said that olive oil can act as antimicrobial, anticancer, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti-aging, even very
good for beauty.
Even consuming two tablespoons of olive oil every day for a week can reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol
(LDL) and increase antioxidant compounds, especially phenols in the blood.
The smoke point of olive oil is also high and the content of vitamin E and antioxidants in it do not break
down quickly. However, food fried using olive oil will taste strange if you are not used to
92% of coconut oil is saturated fat so it will be more stable when heated and the fatty acids do not easily
turn into free radicals. However, high saturated fat content like this still needs to be
watched out for.
Because if it is used too often it will increase cholesterol levels in the blood, both bad cholesterol (LDL) and
good cholesterol (HDL).
Avocado oil is an oil that contains high amounts of monounsaturated fat, so it is more stable when used for
cooking. In addition, the fatty acids will not easily split when heated.
That’s not enough, avocado oil also has a high smoke point and doesn’t break down quickly when heated.
Most importantly, this type of oil can help increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower
levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).
Canola oil is a cooking oil with a high smoke point and contains a fair amount of monounsaturated fat.
However, its use must be done carefully, because it contains omega 6 fatty acids which are quite
high, if consumed too much will endanger the health of the body.
The next good cooking oil is palm oil. This oil contains quite a lot of saturated fat oil, so
it is stable when heated and can be used for frying. However, if the amount that enters the
body is too much, it will have a negative impact on health.
Therefore, you should limit the use of palm oil when frying and make sure you eat foods that contain balanced
This is the discussion about bulk oil and the types of cooking oil that are safe for consumption.
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Author: Gilang Oktaviana Putra
Eva Yulia, Ade Heri Mulyati, and Farida Nuraeni (2017), Quality of Bulk Cooking Oil in Traditional Markets in the
Jabotabek Area in Various Storage