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Edible Oils: Methodology, Analysis & More

Edible oils are some of the most commonly used cooking ingredients in the world and are frequently used in baking or frying of food and for non-cooking products such as salad dressing margarine spreads, and dips. They are used to produce nonfood products such as cosmetics personal care products, animal feeds, and more.

But what kind of testing is done on edible oils and why is it important? In this brief blog, we will take a deep dive into the importance of testing, a testing method created by Avomeen, and a case study related to edible oils.

What is an Edible Oil & Where Can I Find Them?

Edible oils are fatty liquids extracted from various vegetables and some animal tissues. The most commonly identified being olive oil, but Avomeen worked on an edible oil rising in popularity: avocado oil. Some other popular edible oils include canola oil, corn oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, almond oil, and grapeseed oil.

Regular consumers can find edible oils almost anywhere they shop for groceries. They’re often located in the baking aisle and have a variety of the aforementioned oils available for purchase. For wholesalers or industrial consumers, there are global distributors and bulk suppliers who offer these oils for purchase. Additionally, oils and fats are recognized as essential nutrients in our daily diet and contribute to the significant regulation of various different bodily functions.

The Dietary Supplements and Ingredients Defined

We previously mentioned our company offers testing and analysis for edible oil, but what are our clients looking for in these tests? One of the most common tests Avomeen provides is understanding the level of quality and purity for the specific oil provided. Whether on their oil or a competitor’s sample, we can help identify if a product is a virgin oil as the label claimed or as pure as the label states and if they are of correct grades. This is achieved by using specific quality metrics and purity markers that have been developed by Avomeen by the study of existing literature and research performed at Avomeen labs on numerous brands of edible oils in the market.

Bio-markers of the freshness of edible oils (avocado oil, coconut oil, and others) have been developed. Biomarkers could include a flavone specific to coconut oil which will determine the extent of contamination with other cheaper or less virgin oils. Biomarkers could include other specific chemicals and properties in various edible oils for determining purity, contamination, and quality such as anti-oxidant α-tocopherol ranges expected in unrefined oils, chemicals such as phytosteroids and carotenoids which are indicators of virgin oils. Avomeen has designed a composite matrix to compare the quality, purity, and health indices of many edible oils. We partner, both with manufacturing and consumer protection agencies for evaluative analyses of virgin and refined oils.

Testing the purity of oil is incredibly important because consumers deserve the quality they are paying for. Cold press oil is more expensive than refined oil because of the refining processes. When our expert scientists are looking at the quality of these edible oils, they’re looking at peroxide values, acid values, saponification values, and iodine values to determine the quality and grades of the oils in addition to specific quality markers.

Another test commonly performed is determining within the edible oil is rancid or not. Rancid oil, although it will not make you sick, is bad and can turn rancid during the refining process before it even reaches shelves.

Rancidity testing determines the level of oxidation within a sample and when lipids go rancid the nutritional value is compromised. Besides testing, you can identify a rancid oil by a poor taste and odor. Canola oil is particularly prone to rancidity. These tests can help identify shelf life span and improve the production process.

Edible Oil Testing Methodology

Avomeen was contacted by a client who needed the purity of their avocado oil tested. Avomeen developed an innovative method using a novel approach to test this edible oil using lutein, α-tocopherol, and β-sitosterol as their three bio-markers. This method is more sensitive and quicker than traditional methods testing only peroxide values. The key to this method was developing a quality metric to more easily compare the various edible oils as the values received in testing are tighter. During the testing, a majority of the samples were within the limit of detection and Avomeen found the avocado oil sample provided matched with the labeled level of purity.

Partner With An Experienced Lab

Avomeen is ready to partner together to assist you with any edible oil testing analysis needs. Our expert team is communicative, innovative, and has the knowledge and know-how to help you get the results you need. Whether you’re looking to supplement the capabilities of an in-house lab, outsource your testing needs, or just receive the data you’re in need of, we’re here to help. Already have a project in mind? Get started with the process today by reaching out to a member of our team.

Additional Resources

Not sure what the benefits of partnering with a CRO/CDMO? Check out our blog, Strategic Partnership Blog Series, Part 1: Benefits, to gain some insight on the many benefits of a partnership with an outside lab.

If you’re a manufacturer looking for a food laboratory, look no further! Avomeen can be the answer to all of your problems. Our blog, What Tough Problems do Food Laboratories solve for Manufacturers, will offer additional information that may be of interest to you. ‘’

Interested in mycotoxin testing services? Check out our blog, Mycotoxins: Applications & Testing Methodology, to take a deeper dive into mycotoxins and the services we offer around them.


About the Authors

One of our featured experts is Neelam Varshney, Avomeen’s Senior Director of Client Solutions/Consulting. Neelam’s diligence and intellect brings incredible value to Avomeen and to our clients. She has extensive experience in all CMC aspects of pharmaceutical products from preclinical testing to IND/NDA modules to post-approval regulatory requirements. Neelam’s wealth of regulatory knowledge includes expertise in various CMC requirements including deformulation strategies, analytical development, product specification development, container-closure selection, extractables /leachables profiling, organic and inorganic impurities profiling for all drug product types, including drug-device combination products. Avomeen’s clients benefit greatly from her insight and expertise in cleaning validation/verification and more. To all of this, Neelam brings 22+ years of pharmaceutical industry experience, primarily applying ICH and other regulatory guidances to build compliant systems.


Emma Leishman, Ph.D., Avomeen’s Manager of the Advanced Analytics Group, has worked on many complex projects including analytical method development and validation, product development, impurity identification, and extractable and leachable studies. Her expertise ranges to developing and validating an HPLC-MS/MS screening of 21 mycotoxin contaminants and holds a patent for a chemical denaturant for controlled substances she co-invented. Clients greatly benefit from her in-depth knowledge, technical expertise, and communication skills all across the board. She is an expert in HPLC-MS/MS, HPLC-UV, HPLC-ELSD, bioactive lipid neurochemistry in addition to a variety of other advanced instrumentation. Emma has given 7 invited conference talks, has more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, and has contributed to 47 abstracts and 4 book chapters.