Sesame oil, also known as sesame oil, sesame oil, is a special aroma of oil extracted from sesame seeds, is a good seasoning in the daily diet, often used in hot pot oil dishes, cold vegetables, etc.

Sesame oil also contains a lot of natural active substances such as lignans, vitamin E and plant sterols, which have good health benefits for the human body.

In addition, the high content of linoleic acid and linolenic acid is another advantage of sesame oil, making its nutritional value comparable to other edible oils such as olive oil.

However, while sesame oil is widely sought after by consumers, the sesame oil industry is also chaotic, and the sesame oil sold on the market has a wide range of names, ambiguous labels, counterfeiting and uneven quality, which has caused great trouble to consumers’ purchase and health.

(Image source: Tuworm Creative) (Image source: Tuworm Creative)

Chaos 1: Flavor blended with counterfeit sesame oil

According to the provisions of the national standard for edible oil, sesame oil is an oil made from sesame seeds, and no flavors and spices shall be added to sesame oil, nor shall it be mixed with other edible oils and non-edible oils.

However, the price of pure sesame oil is more expensive, generally around 50 yuan / kg, it is the relatively high production cost and huge profits, so that many criminals do not hesitate to take risks, make and sell counterfeits.

On April 29, 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation notified the “Xingtai City Market Supervision Bureau of Hebei Province Investigation and Punishment of Hebei Kitchenfriend Edible Oil Co., Ltd. Production and Sale of Fake and Shoddy Sesame Oil Case”.

(Hebei Kitchenfriend Edible Oil Co., Ltd. enterprise information)

The parties in this case mixed the lower price corn oil, soybean oil and cottonseed oil to form a “red oil” consistent with the color of sesame oil, blended ethyl vanillin, ethyl maltol and other flavors and fragrances, and sold it as pure sesame oil.

Theoretically, if the manufacturer’s processing conditions meet the hygiene requirements and the safety of the mixed several oils meets the standards, then there is no clear food safety risk for the counterfeit “sesame oil” and “sesame oil”. However, multiple batches of fake and inferior “sesame oil” produced and sold by Hebei Kitchenyou Edible Oil Co., Ltd. were found to exceed the standard of aflatoxin B1.

Aflatoxin B1 is a strong carcinogen, and can induce acute or chronic liver damage, long-term consumption of aflatoxin excessive edible oil will cause greater harm to the human body.

“Oil is adulterated, the gods are worried”, this was once a true portrayal of adulteration identification in the edible oil industry, knowing that adulteration was helpless.

In 2018, the State Administration for Market Regulation issued the “GB/T 8233-2018” national standard for sesame oil, and whether sesame oil is adulterated can be preliminarily judged by testing the content of 4 characteristic fatty acids.

In June 2020, Consumer Reports sent 22 sesame oils to authoritative third-party testing agencies, including 17 well-known brand prepackaged sesame oils and 5 small workshop sesame oils, to test their fatty acid composition.

(5 small workshop sesame oils)

The results found that only 17 pre-packaged brand sesame oil had 4 fatty acid characteristic indicators that met the national standard, indicating that they were all pure sesame oil.

However, the oleic acid content of three small workshop sesame oils, including Yuhuangfang small mill sesame oil, Zhixiaoer black sesame sesame oil and Chuanwei oil mill small mill sesame oil, did not meet the standard requirements, and there was a possibility of adulteration of soybean oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil and other edible oils.

Chaos 2: Nominal “sesame oil”, hanging sheep’s heads, selling dog meat

“Don’t dare to fake the product content, then work more on the product name”, this sentence is a good explanation of the current situation of sesame oil products with many names and ambiguous labels.

From the perspective of manufacturers, consumers like to buy “sesame oil” and “sesame sesame oil”, so give them the logo “sesame oil” and “sesame sesame oil”, which is just a name.

In the current market, many brands induce consumers through trademarks, font formats, font sizes, or suggestive language, graphics, symbols, or color differences.

(“Jianhua Sesame Oil”)

(“Daheng Sesame Oil”)

For example, “Jianhua Sesame Oil” produced by Sichuan Chengdu Jianhua Food Co., Ltd. and “Daheng Mao Sesame Oil” produced by Chengdu Daheng Mao Industrial Co., Ltd., these two products highlight “sesame oil” in prominent fonts on the packaging.

At the same time, in order to avoid risks, the above two “sesame oils” are marked with the actual name of the product “edible vegetable blending oil” in a very small light-colored font.

(“Jianhua Sesame Oil” ingredient list)

(Ingredient list of “Daheng Sesame Oil”)

The ingredient list of “Jianhua Sesame Oil” is 51% sesame oil and 49% corn oil, while “Daheng Mao Sesame Oil” is 70% rice bran oil and 30% sesame oil.

Obviously, these two so-called “sesame oils” are not real sesame oils, but the name of the packaging is very easy for unknown consumers to “step on the pit”.

In fact, labeling and highlighting “so-and-so sesame oil” is not a very excessive case, because some manufacturers are more naked.

(“Sesame Oil”)

A “Yanbiju Edible Oil” produced by Shaanxi Sanyuan Jixiang Condiment Co., Ltd. is directly marked with the word “sesame sesame oil” in large font on the packaging, and “harmonious type” in an inconspicuous font at the bottom.

(Ingredient list of “Banquet Sesame Oil”)

This “sesame oil” is really just an edible vegetable blending oil, with ingredients shown as 51% sesame oil and 49% soybean oil.

(“Full Han All Seats Small Grinding Incense”)

The “Manhan Quanxi Small Grinding Fragrance” oil produced by Wuhan Kitchen Way Food Co., Ltd. is marked with “Xiao Moxiang” in a large font on the packaging, and the word “type” is also marked with a smaller font next to it like other products.

In the ingredient list, this product uses 55% sesame oil, 25% soybean oil and 20% corn oil, which shows that it is still a “vegetable blending oil”.

(Ingredient list of “Full Han All Seats Small Grinding Incense”)

However, the strange thing is that this oil does not even label the type of product it belongs to (edible vegetable blending oil), which obviously does not meet the provisions of the national standard for edible vegetable oil, and it is easier for consumers to “confuse”.

Chaos 3: Ignore the national standard and go your own way

Since the nutrients such as fatty acids and vitamins of a single oil may be defective, long-term consumption of one oil may cause malnutrition, so blended oils made by mixing several oils came into being.

In order to further govern and standardize the blended oil industry, in 2018, the National Health Commission and the State Administration for Market Regulation announced the release and implementation of GB2716-2018 “National Food Safety Standard Vegetable Oil”.

According to the standard, the name of edible vegetable oil should reflect the true attributes of edible vegetable oil, and a single variety of edible vegetable oil should use the standardized name of this edible vegetable oil, and shall not be mixed with other varieties of oil.

For edible oils and fats made by using two or more edible vegetable oils, the product name shall be marked as “edible vegetable blending oil” in accordance with the regulations, and the proportion of various edible vegetable oils shall be indicated on the label.

However, until now, there are still many manufacturers in the single product of sesame oil that ignore the national standard, go their own way, and play a big way.

(Hyakutake “Sesame Blending Oil”)

(Hyakutake “Sesame Blending Oil” ingredient list)

For example, the Baiyue edible vegetable blending oil produced by Sanyuan Xiangyuan Food Co., Ltd. is prominently marked as “sesame blending oil” on the front of the bottle, and the ingredients are 51% small ground sesame oil and 49% sunflower oil.

According to the national standard of edible plant blending oil, the above blended oil should change “sesame blending oil” to “edible vegetable blending oil”.

(Bashu Granary “Sesame Blend and Sesame Oil”)

For another example, the Bashu granary vegetable blending oil produced by Sichuan St. Filun Food Co., Ltd. is marked with “sesame blended and sesame oil” in large font in a prominent place on the front of the package, although there is a word labeled “edible vegetable blending oil” next to it, but the font is too small for almost no one to notice.

(Bashu Granary “Sesame Blend and Sesame Oil” Ingredient List)

The ingredient list of this Bashu granary “sesame blending and sesame oil” does not follow the rules, only marked as “edible vegetable oil, sesame oil ≥ 30%”, it is unknown what kind of oil it refers to “edible vegetable oil”.

Chaos 4: Renamed “sesame seasoning oil” to avoid risks

I believe that many consumers are familiar with peppercorn oil, mustard oil, chili oil, spice oil and other oils, which are actually “seasoning oil” products.

According to the definition, seasoning oil is made from natural edible spices and vegetable oils, and processed in a certain way, with a strong smell and taste, not only convenient to eat, but also hygienic, can well meet people’s needs for taste.

However, at present, seasoning oil lacks national standards, and the “Rules for the Review of Food Seasoning Oil Product Production License” and the “NY/T 2111-2011 Seasoning Oil” green food industry standard formulated by the Ministry of Agriculture do not have specific requirements for the proportion of ingredients in seasoning oil, which allows many manufacturers to have “loopholes” to exploit.

Some products that actually belong to edible vegetable blending oils, in order not to label the proportion of the formula and to highlight the name of the sesame variety in the name, the product name is labeled “sesame flavoring oil”.

(Changkang “Sesame Seasoning Oil”)

For example, Changkang “sesame seasoning oil” produced by Hunan Changkang Industrial Co., Ltd. is labeled as white sesame oil, black sesame oil, sunflower oil and refined rapeseed oil.

(Changkang “Sesame Seasoning Oil” ingredient list)

This is actually an edible vegetable blending oil, because there is no trace of spices in the ingredient list, but it can be honestly become a “seasoning oil” and use the word “sesame”.

In fact, another “benefit” of labeling edible vegetable blending oils containing sesame oil as “seasoning oil” is that manufacturers can add ingredients that are not allowed in vegetable oils.

(Chinese “sesame seeds flavored sesame oil”)

For example, Xiamen Xin Datao Food Co., Ltd. produces Chinese “sesame oil with strong flavor and flavoring sesame oil”, which is mainly made of soybean oil and sesame oil.

(Chinese “Sesame Flavored Sesame Oil” Ingredient List)

However, the ingredients of “food flavor” can be seen in the ingredient list, and what is not allowed to be added in vegetable oil products has become reasonable and legal in flavoring oil.

In the final analysis, manufacturers do this because there is no national standard for seasoning oil, which can be produced without labeling the proportion of ingredients, and the blended oil needs to be marked with the proportion of each oil, so as to avoid some risks and facilitate smooth production and sales.

In addition, manufacturers labeling “sesame seasoning oil” can confuse the concept of products, mislead consumers to buy, promote product sales, and ultimately harm consumers.

Truth: There are only 3 types of sesame oil

No matter how much chaos there is in the sesame oil industry, as long as consumers clearly know that there are several types of sesame oil on the market, then they can completely avoid “stepping on the pit”.

The national standard “GB/T 8233-2018 Sesame Oil” divides sesame oil into 4 categories according to different production processes, including sesame crude oil, sesame oil, small ground sesame oil and refined sesame oil. Among them, sesame crude oil cannot be eaten directly, so there are only the last 3 types that are closely related to consumers.

(1) Small ground sesame oil

Sesame seeds are roasted and stone-ground and pulped, and the finished sesame oil produced by the water substitution method is called small ground sesame oil. The aroma of small ground sesame oil is usually a little more intense than the sesame oil produced by the other 2 processes.

The so-called water substitution method is to fry the sifted sesame seeds in a pot, and then grind the sesame seeds into fine sesame sauce blanks with stone mills, and then put the sesame sauce blanks and boiling water into the pot in proportion, replace the oil after stirring and precipitation, and separate the residual oil from the hemp residue by long-term vibration and rolling with a heavy copper hammer.

In the process of stone grinding and grinding sauce blank, low temperature and low pressure will not easily destroy the aromatic substances and nutrients in sesame oil, and the nutritional value is high.

(Small ground sesame oil)

Because the water substitution method is time-consuming and laborious, and the oil yield is not high, the factory price of the small ground sesame oil produced is also the highest among the three kinds of sesame oil.

From the retail end, the retail price of general brands of small ground sesame oil can go to 8~11 yuan/100mL, and usually a bottle of 300mL small ground sesame oil is priced at about 30 yuan.

(2) Sesame oil

After the sesame seeds are roasted, the finished sesame oil with a strong aroma prepared by pressing or pressing the filtration process is called sesame oil, so sesame oil is also pressed sesame oil.

Due to the high temperature of the pressing process, the aroma of sesame oil is also relatively strong.

(Sesame oil)

In terms of retail, most sesame oil is priced between 5~7 yuan/100mL, and usually a bottle of 400mL sesame oil costs about 20 yuan.

(3) Refine sesame oil

Whether it is water substitution method or pressing method to produce sesame oil, they can not fully extract all the oil from sesame, so in the sesame cake obtained by the pressing method and the sesame residue obtained by the substitution method using the leaching process, the resulting oil is called sesame crude oil, sesame crude oil can not be eaten directly, must be refined before eating, this is the production process of refined sesame oil.

The aroma of refined sesame oil cannot be compared with small ground sesame oil and sesame oil, so its name does not have the word “fragrant”, and its nutritional value is not as good as the first two, so the price is relatively low.

(“Full Han All Seats Small Grinding Incense”)