Processing

This is where you can find out all the specific information you want about our processing procedures. Please read our Process section too. Or contact us if you're unable to find the answer to your question.

Are Spectrum products certified organic?
What are the general differences between Spectrumís refined and unrefined oils?
What does Spectrum do to assure consumers that they are purchasing a fresh product?
What is hydrogenation? What are trans-fats or trans-fatty acids?
What is molecular distillation?
What does the term Cold Milled mean?

Are Spectrum products certified organic?

All of Spectrum's organic products are certified organic by third party certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI). QAI is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). All organic certifications are regulated by The National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP regulations provide a national list of allowed and prohibited substances for contact with or use in organically processed products. QAI conducts annual inspections of growers and manufacturers to assure compliance and keeps detailed records.

Read more about our commitment to Organic Farming. For more information on organic standards, visit The Organic Trade Association or The National Organic Program.

 

What are the general differences between Spectrumís refined and unrefined oils?

Spectrumís refined oils are more neutral in flavor than our unrefined oils and may be used at higher temperatures. Our unrefined oils have a richer color and more robust flavor while retaining more of their nutritional properties.

Both types of oil are expeller pressed. Our refined oils undergo a process of refining, bleaching, deodorizing and winterizing in order to remove gums, non-fatty materials, water soluble pigments and acidic pigments. Our organically refined oils are not winterized, and some refined non-organic oils (Spectrumís Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, and Avocado Oil) are also processed to remove waxes, styrenes, sterols, and other solids. Spectrumís unrefined oils have been filtered, but do not undergo the steps listed above.

 

What does Spectrum do to assure consumers that they are purchasing a fresh product?

We have strict Quality Control standards for the purchasing of oil seeds or third party produced oils. Freshness standards have been established for every type of oil we sell, and thorough in-house and third party lab testing of all raw materials is done to be within these limits, before the product is bottled.

Since we use no preservatives or other chemical agents in our oils, we bottle frequently in small batches to assure that there is a continuous flow of fresh oil into the market. Most oil companies bottle (or have bottled for them), long production runs of several months worth of inventory to keep costs as low as possible.

We have custom engineered our bottling equipment for small runs, and eliminated exposure to heat and oxygen at every step, from oil storage to filling to capping. Inert gas is used in all steps of the process to avoid oxidation.

Spectrum Naturals is the number one brand of culinary oils in the Natural Products Industry (as measured by SPINS scan date reporting). This assures you that the products are turning over quickly in the retail stores.

All of our oils are bottled in containers that minimize exposure to the air: glass for all culinary oils and a special version of PETE that uses 100% virgin material for Spectrum Essentials Oils.

 

What is hydrogenation? What are trans-fats or trans-fatty acids?

Trans-fatty acids are formed by converting (through hydrogenation) liquid vegetable oils into shortening or margarine which are solid or semi-solid at room temperature.

The hydrogenation process employs 1) high heat, 2) a metal catalyst such as nickel, zinc, copper, or other reactive metal, and 3) hydrogen gas. The metals are used to react with the hydrogen gas, which is bubbled up through the mixture. The metals catalyze the hydrogen and carbon atoms and convert the fatty acids by flipping one of the attached hydrogen molecules and rotating it half the diameter of the carbon chain. This effectively creates a new molecular shape resulting in a stiffer or more rigid material, hence the change from a liquid to a semi solid or solid substance. This new shape stiffens with the hydrogenation process making the oil behave more like a saturated fat (such as coconut fat which is 92% saturated and solid at room temperature). Trans-fats are the result of this reaction.

Partial hydrogenation, or "brush hydrogenation," is a minimal conversion step which only offers a small degree of reaction by hydrogenation. Brush hydrogenation increases stability for volatile fatty acids like Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic) and Omega-6 (Linoleic) polyunsaturated oils. Most commercial salad dressing oils, such as soybean oil, have been brush hydrogenated. Hydrogenation raises the melting point of the fat and retards rancidity.

Recent studies have found that health problems can ensue when consuming large amounts of trans fats from hydrogenated products. The FDA has determined that the safe level of trans fats in the diet is ZERO and has mandated that all food products be labeled with trans fat content by 2006. Spectrum products do not contain trans fats.

You can also learn about Hydrogenation and Trans-Fatty Acids in our Process section.

 

What is molecular distillation?

To absolutely ensure purity, our Cod Liver Oils are molecularly distilled and third party purity tested to ensure PCBs, dioxins, mercury, lead and other contaminants are below detectable limits set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, World Health Organization, and other advisory agencies.

Molecular distillation is the process by which certain fish oils are purified to remove potentially harmful contaminants. The oil is pulled through a vacuum in an oxygen-free and light-free environment over a hot surface where steam cleans and flushes out contaminants.

 

What does the term Cold Milled mean?

It means that no heat is applied during millingóthe only heat present is the low level produced through friction.