In many cases the crude extracted oil is not suitable for human consumption until it has been refined to remove undesirable free fatty acids that taste rancid, dark colours and waxes. Refining involves considerable extra equipment costs. The most suitable oils for small and medium scale extraction are those that need little or no refining eg. mustard, sesame, groundnut, sunflower, palm and palm kernel .
There are some main risks that need to be considered are:
In general more profit will be made if the cooking oil is packed into retail size bottles. In many countries glass or plastic bottles are difficult to obtain and need to be purchased in large quantities so tying up capital. The possibility of using second-hand bottles should be examined as well as selling in drums to local stores. A survey need to be carried out to make sure that the packaging used meets the demands of customers. (eg size of pack, type of container)
The viability of any oil extraction enterprise depends to a considerable extent on the sale of the oil cake for use in animal feeds and other sub-products. Markets for oil cake must be investigated and demand established before processing starts.
- Health and safety
As oil processing is classified as a food processing enterprise it will be subject to local legislation. Care should be taken that standards are understood and met. The particular problem of aflatoxins will require attention. Aflatoxins are natural poisons produced by certain moulds that grow on seeds and nuts. They are of considerable concern to oil seed processors and groundnuts are particularly susceptible to contamination. The growth of aflatoxin producing moulds can be prevented by correct drying and by preventing moisture pickup by raw materials in store. It is most important that those considering establishing an edible oil enterprise should be able to recognise aflatoxin producing moulds and understand how to correctly select and store raw materials. If aflatoxin is present very little passes to the extracted oil, the majority will be found in the cake remaining after extraction. Aflatoxin contaminated cake presents a real danger if incorporated in livestock feeds. As aflatoxin is difficult to remove good practice is essential to prevent any mould growth and so prevent problems.