The EU is introducing new legislation on the composition of chocolate. Exisiting legislation permits the addition of non-cocoa vegetable fats to chocolate in some Member States of the EU up to a level of 5% of the product. Quantification of the added fat is usually performed using triacylglycerol analysis, but this method is recognised to be imprecise if the identity of the added fat is unknown. Analysis of sterol degradation products has potential as a qualitative method to detect and identify added vegetable fat in chocolate and hence improve precision of the subsequent triacylglycerol measurement.
The aim of the project is to investigate whether existing triacylglycerol methodology for the quantification of non-cocoa vegetable fats can be improved by additional analysis of minor components present in vegetable fats (sterol degradation products).
The approach taken was to test the discriminating ability of the qualitative sterol degradation products method, alongside the triacyglycerol methodology, in cocoa butters, commercial vegetable fats and chocolate vegetable fat mixtures. Possible relationships between sterol degradation product composition and the profile of triacyglycerols that might obviate the need for prior analysis of the vegetable fat were investigated.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.