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This standard applies to unrefined shea butter intended for direct consumption, or as an ingredient in the manufacture of food products.
2.1. Product definitions:
The following definitions apply:
- Shea butter is vegetable fat derived from the kernels of the shea nut (nut kernels from the tree) scientifically known as Vitellaria paradoxa, C.F. Gaertn (synonyms: Butyrospermum paradoxum, Butyrospermum parkii), from the Sapotaceae family.
- Unrefined shea butter is the oleaginous material obtained from the nut kernel of the Vitellaria paradoxa, C.F. Gaertn (synonyms: Butyrospermum paradoxum, Butyrospermum parkii), from the Sapotaceae family by manual or mechanical methods. It is obtained through a thermal process or cold pressed, which does not alter the nature of the fat. It can be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering, and centrifuging.
2.2 Other definition(s)
Lot is a specified quantity of unrefined shea butter that has uniform characteristics, enabling the quantity to be assessed.
3.1. Raw materials
The raw materials shall be stored and handled under hygienic conditions while maintaining their physicochemical and microbiological characteristics.
3.2. General characteristics
Unrefined shea butter shall not be mixed with other fats. It shall be free of all foreign matter.
3.2.1. Organoleptic characteristics
The product shall have the characteristic color, aroma and flavor of unrefined shea butter and be free from any rancidity. The color varies from ivory-colored to yellowish.
3.2.2. Quality criteria
Unrefined shea butter shall meet the quality criteria specified in Table 1 of this standard.
Water content (%)
Free fatty acids (%)
active oxygen/kg oil)
The limits of these descriptive key variables of composition and quality of generic unrefined shea butter may appear very broad, with a large range of values between minimum and maximum values. This is because the descriptors consider the actual variation in characteristics found in shea butter in all production areas.
a. The first grade of unrefined shea butter can be used for direct consumption.
b. The second grade of unrefined shea butter can be used for the food industry (confectionery, chocolate, edible oil, or the base for margarines).
3.3 Chemical and physical characteristics
Table 2- Chemical and physical characteristics of unrefined shea butter
3.4. Fatty acid composition
Samples falling within the appropriate ranges specified below are following this standard.
Table 3- Fatty acid composition of unrefined shea butter as determined by gas liquid
chromatography from authentic samples (expressed as percentage of total fatty acids)
lauric acid (C 12:0)
Myristic acid (C14:0)
Palmitic acid (C 16:0)
Palmitoleic acid (C 16:1)
Stearic acid (C18:0)
Oleic acid (C 18:1)
Linolenic acid (C 18:2)
Linolenic acid (C 18:3)
Arachidonic acid (C 20:0)
No food additives are permitted for use in unrefined shea butter.
The product shall comply with the relevant provisions of the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (CXS 193-1995)
The products covered by this Standard shall comply with the maximum residue limits for pesticides established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
It is recommended that unrefined shea butter be prepared and handled in accordance with the appropriate sections of the General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969) and other relevant Codex codes of hygienic practice.
The product should comply with any microbiological criteria established in accordance with the Principles and Guidelines for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria Related to Foods (CXG 21-1997).
7.1. Name of the food
The product shall be labelled in accordance with the provisions of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CXS 1-1985). Furthermore, each container shall be marked with a label containing the
a. Name of the product and grade – to be consistent with table 1
b. Name and address of the manufacturer and/or the trademark
c. County of origin
d. Net weight in kg
e. Date of manufacture
f. Product shelf life
g. Production lot number or code
h. Storage instructions.
7.2. Labelling of non-retail containers
The information required by this standard and by section 4 of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods shall be given either on the container or in accompanying documents, except that the name of the product, the net weight of the product, date of manufacture, the production lot number as well as the name and address of the manufacturer, the packer, the distributor and/or importer shall appear on the container.
However, lot identification, and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, and/or
importer may be replaced by an identification mark, provided that such a mark is clearly identifiable with the accompanying documents.
Sampling shall be done in accordance with the provisions of ISO 5555:2001, Animal and vegetable fats and oils Sampling.
To ensure compliance with this quality standard, the samples selected as specified in clause 9 shall be tested in accordance with the appropriate testing procedures:
Determination of moisture content
Determination of relative density
Determination of saponification value
ISO 3657:1988 (revised 1992)
Determination of iodine value
Determination of peroxide value
AOCS cd. 8b – 90
Determination of unsaponifiable matter
Determination of melting point
Determination of lead content (Pb)
Determination of arsenic content (As)
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