Fat specifications

Generic specifications like

  • FFA, POV, Moisture and Colour
  • Heavy metals (Fe or Cu)
  • Pesticides
  • Taste

These specifications are internationally agreed values or can be obtained from the fat supplier.

Specifications depending on the application:

  • N-values or SFC; important for melting behaviour, crystallisation, heat stability at higher temperatures
  • Fatty acid composition, such as Safa, Pufa, trans content or lauric content
  • Triglyceride composition, influencing crystallisation rate and N-values
  • Taste keepability

How to define specifications?
The better the requirements for the application can be described the better the specifications for the fat can be defined:

  • N35 or solids at 35°C determines the melting at body temperature. This is more important for a fat for cream application than for biscuits.
  • The steepness of the N-line (like N20-N30) determines the crystallisation rate together with the type of triglycerides. More steepness gives also a cooling effect at consumption of the food with this fat.
  • The N35 and e.g. N40 determines the stability for high temperature distribution
  • The N10 will influence the hardness of the final product at refrigerator conditions (spreadability of a margarine).

It is also important to know at which temperatures the fat is applied and at which temperature the final product is distributed/stored; some examples are:

  • The constraints for pastry fat/margarine applied in Europe at 20°C will differ from the constraints of a pastry fat applied in a 30°C country.
  • A fat for cream filling between biscuits can be much softer in colder countries than in warmer countries especially when there is no chilled distribution/storage

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Copyright 2002 Gabrie Lansbergen Fats for Foods Consultant

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