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Rancidity in Foods. N.E.M Business Solutions 01823 680119 1.What is Rancidity.

(rancid derived from "rancidus" the Latin for stinking). Most any food can technically become rancid. The term particularly applies to oi ls. Oils can be particularly susceptible to rancidity because their chemistry wh ich makes them susceptible to oxygen damage. When food scientists talk about ran cidity, they are often talking about a specific type of rancidity involving oxyg en damage to foods, and this type of rancidity is called "oxidative rancidity." During the process of oxidative rancidity, oxygen molecules interact with the st ructure of the oil and damage its natural structure in a way that can change its odour, its taste, and its safety for consumption. Oxidation of fats, generally known as rancidity, is caused by a biochemical reac tion between fats and oxygen. In this process the long-chain fatty acids are deg raded and short-chain compounds are formed. One of the reaction products is buty ric acid, which causes the typical rancid taste. Rancidification is the decomposition of fats, oils and other lipids by hydrolysi s or oxidation, or both. Hydrolysis will split fatty acid chains away from the g lycerol backbone in glycerides. These free fatty acids can then undergo further auto-oxidation. Oxidation primarily occurs with unsaturated fats by a free radic al-mediated process. These chemical processes can generate highly reactive molec ules in rancid foods and oils, which are responsible for producing unpleasant an d noxious odours and flavours. These chemical processes may also destroy nutrien ts in food. Under some conditions, rancidity, and the destruction of vitamins, o ccurs very quickly. Oxidative Rancidity Cooking oil

2. How can the effects be minimised. Antioxidants are often added to fat-containing foods in order to retard the deve lopment of rancidity due to oxidation. Natural anti-oxidants include flavonoids, polyphenols, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and tocopherols (vitamin E). Synthetic antioxidants include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxy toluene (BHT), propyl 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoate also known as propyl gallate and ethoxyquin. The natural antioxidants tend to be short-lived, so synthetic antioxidants are u sed when a longer shelf life is preferred. The effectiveness of water-soluble antioxidants is limited in preventing direct oxidation within fats, but is valuable in intercepting free radicals that travel through the watery parts of foods. A combination of water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidants is ideal, usually in the ratio of fat to water. In addition, rancidification can be decreased, but not completely eliminated, by storing fats and oils in a cool, dark place with little exposure to oxygen or f

ree radicals, since heat and light accelerate the rate of reaction of fats with oxygen. (Oxidative rancidity or autooxidation is a chemical reaction with a low activation energy consequently the rate of reaction is not significantly reduced by cold storage). Do not add fresh oil to vessels containing old oil. The old oil will trigger a r eaction and the new oil will become rancid far more rapidly than if the oil was stored in a clean empty vessel. Avoid using vessels that are wet, this will also speed up the problems associated with oxidation, allow tanks to drain and dry a dequately before use.