Cow ghee has emerged as a superfood, its popularity is not just in India but globally as well. The benefits of cow ghee has amazed us for generations; for great skin, hair, and not to forget its healing properties. However, the question is the brands available pure or has it been adulterated?
As per our standard procedure, we undertook market research to identify the regular-selling brands of ghee across the country. We tested the 7 samples of cow ghee brands) on various quality, safety, acceptability and adulteration parameters. The testing was conducted at an NABL- accredited laboratory and the samples were tested as per specifications laid out by FSS Regulations, 2011, and Indian Standard IS: 16326:2015.
- Mother Dairy
- Milk Fat
- Vitamin A
- Peroxide Value
- Free Fatty Acids as Oleic Acid
- Phytosterol Acetate Test
- Presence of Animal Fats
• Reichert-Meissl (RM) Value
• Butyro Refractometer (BR) Reading
- Energy Value
- Baudouin Test
- Phenolphthalein Test
- Polenske Value
- Vitamin E
- Saturated Fat
- Trans Fatty Acids
• Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA)
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA)
COMPARATIVE TESTING OF COW GHEE
Patanjali | Gowardhan | Ksheer
VALUE FOR MONEY
- Based on the overall test findings, the top performers are Patanjali, Gowardhan and Ksheer
- The value-for- money brand is Ksheer.
- All brands are safe for consumption.
- There was no adulteration with vegetable fat and animal fat.
- Most of the brands met the minimum requirements specified in the national standards.
- Vitamin A was highest in Gowardhan
- Milk fat was found highest in Patanjali
- BR reading of Anik and Amul was found to be lower than the specified value.
- Polenske value of Paras and Mother Dairy was found to be slightly lower than the specified limit.
- Beta-carotene was higher in cow ghee than in desi ghee.
Consumer VOICE tested brands of Desi ghee to know the best desi ghee brand to buy. Read teas Reports here.
The test was published in July 2017.
FOR PHYSICOCHEMICAL PARAMETERS
Fat is an essential part of any balanced diet, providing essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and a concentrated source of energy. The minimum requirement for milk fat in ghee is 99.5 per cent.
- All the brands fulfilled the minimum requirement for milk fat content.
- Patanjali (99.94 per cent) had the highest amount of milk fat.
For vitamin A, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 600 milligrams daily. As for our tests, we checked the samples for total of vitamin A, which included vitamin A detected and vitamin A converted from beta carotene.
- Vitamin A was highest in Gowardhan and lowest in Ksheer
- Vitamin A from beta carotene was found to be higher in cow ghee than desi ghee
This parameter is an indicator of rancidity in the product. Peroxide value in ghee shall be a maximum 0.6.
- Peroxide value was below the specified limit in all the brands. Thus they all passed the test.
Moisture generally refers to the presence of water in a product. Less amount of moisture is better as it translates into a longer shelf life. As per FSS Regulations, moisture content in ghee shall not be more than 0.5 per cent; as per Agmark, it shall not be more than 0.3 per cent.
- Moisture content in all the brands was less than 0.3 per cent.
- The lowest moisture content was in Patanjali (0.06 per cent), followed by Mother Dairy (0.07 per cent)..
FREE FATTY ACID (FFA) AS OLEIC ACID (% BY MASS)
FFA is the percentage by weight of free acid groups in the oil or fat. Free fatty acids are an indication of hydrolytic rancidity, though other lipid oxidation processes can also produce acids.
Free fatty acids shall be a maximum three per cent.
- All brands were within the specified limit.
Energy value is the amount of calories which our body obtains from food. Energy value is expected to be higher in ghee.
- Among the tested brands, energy value was highest in Patanjali and Nestle (both 899.46 kcal/100 gm).
THE ADULTERATION AND PURITY TESTS
This test is to distinguish between desi ghee and vanaspati ghee. It may be noted that ghee adulteration with vanaspati, vegetable oils/fats and animal body fats is a key concern.
Results of the Baudouin test shall be negative.
- All 8 brands passed the test.
The results are required to be negative. Phenolphthalein is used as indicator to detect possible adulteration in the ghee.
- All brands showed negative and thereby cleared the test.
PHYTOSTEROL ACETATE TEST
This test detects the adulteration of ghee with vegetable oils. Ghee is an animal fat and contains cholesterol, while all vegetable oils contain sterols of other types which are together termed phytosterols. Note that this test will not detect the presence of animal body fat, such as tallow and lard, in ghee, since these also contain cholesterol.
- All the brands turned in negative results for adulteration and thus passed the test.
PRESENCE OF ANIMAL FATS
The ghee brands were tested for possible adulteration with animal fat materials like tallow.
- Animal fat was not detected in any of the brands.
REICHERT-MEISSL (RM) VALUE
The RM value is determined when examining fat. It is an indicator of how much volatile fatty acid can be extracted from fat through saponification.
- All tested brands met the requirements set by the national standards.
BUTYRO REFRACTOMETER (BR) READING (AT 40 DEGREES CELSIUS)
BR reading is the index of purity of ghee. An increase in BR reading indicates adulteration of ghee with vegetable oil/animal body fat.
- BR reading for Anik and Amul was found to be slightly lower than the specified limit.
Like the RM value, the Polenske value is also determined when examining fat. It is an indicator of how much volatile fatty acid can be extracted from fat through saponification.
- Polenske values of Paras and Mother Dairy (cow ghee) were found to be lower than the specified range.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
- In the test results, vitamin E was found below detection limit (0.50 mg/100 gm). Paras claimed to contain 2.8 mg/100 gm, but this was not detected in our tests.
The Fat of the Land
Ghee is not recommended for individuals already suffering from high cholesterol.
- Mother Dairy and Ksheer were found to have the highest amount of cholesterol ; it was lowest in Anik
Saturated fats are derived from animal fat as well as vegetable fat. Saturated fats directly raise total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It is expected to be less in ghee.
- Saturated fat was found highest in Patanjali and lowest in Gowardhan.
TRANS FATTY ACIDS
Trans fatty acids also raise the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in our blood.
- Highest amount of trans fat was found in Amul and lowest in Patanjali.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs, are found in plant and animal foods such as salmon, vegetable oils and some nuts and seeds. Eating moderate amounts of polyunsaturated (and monounsaturated) fat in place of saturated and trans fats can benefit your health. Polyunsaturated fats can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- PUFA was found highest in Anik and lowest in Mother Dairy
Both monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, and PUFAs are referred to as the healthy fats. MUFAs are associated with lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol while also increasing the production of the good cholesterol (HDL). These fats can be found in vegetable oils like canola, peanut and olive oil, as well as in nuts.
MUFA was found highest in Gowardhan (28.08gm/100 gm) and Mother Dairy cow ghee (27.28gm/100 gm), and lowest in Patanjali (22.3gm/100 gm).
Coliform bacteria, the presence of which is an indicator of poor sanitation practices and/or water quality employed in the handling and processing stages, were not detected in any of the ghee brands.
FOR GENERAL QUALITIES
The following details shall be marked on the product label:
- Name of product
- Net quantity (declared)
- Name and address of manufacturer
- Date of packing
- Place of packing
- The words ‘Best before’
- Batch or code or melt number
- FSSAI license number
- Customer-care details
- Tins and plastic containers shall be marked with this instruction: ‘This container shall not be reused for packaging oils and fats.’
Packaging plays an important role in maintaining consistent quality of the product and in preventing its deterioration.
- Mother Dairy was in a plastic pouch. All other brands were in Tetra packs.