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New Technologies On The Production Of Virgin Coconut Oil And Their Applicability To Integrated Coconut Processing Modules

The increasing number of published books, literatures, results of medical researches and internet information extolling the beneficial effects of coconut oil to the human body led to the development of a “niche” and very high value market for a special type of coconut oil which is processed differently from the traditionally known refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) coconut oil. From a much maligned substance in the 80’s which has been claimed by American Soybean Association as causing heart disease and atherosclerosis, this high quality version of coconut oil which is now generally referred to as virgin coconut oil has resurrected its reputation and made a dramatic turn-around in the world market as a functional food that not only nourishes but also heals. Dubbed as the ‘healthiest oil on earth”, virgin coconut oil (VCO) is processed from the fresh and mature kernel of the coconut and its derivatives coconut milk and coconut milk residue.  The paper presents salient information on the 8 different processes for producing VCO (4 from fresh kernel, 3 from coconut milk and 1 process from coconut milk residue), the advantages and disadvantages of each process, the quality control requirements and critical control points to be followed to insure the production of high quality VCO, the applicable scale of operation for each process and the required machineries and equipment. The sensory evaluation attributes to assess the quality of VCO in the absence of laboratory analysis are also discussed.  In addition, it clarifies some points with regards to the “heat or no heat” controversy surrounding the production of VCO. The concept of integrated coconut processing module is introduced and differentiated to the general norm of integrated coconut processing per se..Likewise, the applicability of VCO processing technologies to integrated coconut processing modules is discussed.

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