Processing Terminology

Natural Oil Processing Terminology

NOTE: Written with general readers in mind. Technical jargons and process details are simplified for easy understanding and for general information only. For technical inquires and for process details, please contact our technical services

  • Semi-refined is a technical term. It means no chemicals were used and deodorization and decolonization is minimal. Most of the virgin oils fall under this category (except for a few like virgin oil de coco-crème®). This is also the process for “unrefined” oil. Marketers typically call this as “Pure-unrefined” which is a marketing term – not a technical term.
  • Physically refined means no chemicals used at any stage of refining process. Instead it uses steam heat in neutralization (de-gumming), decolonization, and deodorization.
  • Unrefined Oil normally means crude oil. Crude contains non-oily components so it is not 100% oil yet. It has to be refined or purified to be used as 100% oil.
  • Unrefined-pure = rarely exists in nature. One of the very few examples is virgin oil de coco-crème®. You can only make an unrefined-pure if the material is around 50% moisture and the nature of the oil is highly stable. Pure-unrefined in marketing terminology usually corresponds with the technical term semi-refined.
  • Pure means 99%-100% purity of oil. It can be pure-refined or pure-unrefined in which explained above). In the natural market, 100% pure is interpreted as pure-unrefined which is not automatically true. Technically 100% pure means there is no non-oily material and is usually safe to use for food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Crude Oil is unrefined oil but not pure. It is normally used for industrial application and as a raw material for producing pure oil.
  • Cold-Pressed = means there is no high heat generated during the pressing of the oil from raw material. It does not tell you if there is heat before or after pressing. Marketers have used the term for years to imply the idea of no heating at any stage of the processing. Cold pressed may or may not be chemical free which is another concept side stepped by using the term “cold pressed”. Ask your source what they know about the process. (SEE different stages of oil processing).
  • Expeller pressed means using expelling machine to crush the crude oil from the material. If the pressing does not generate high heat, it is called cold pressing.
  • Hydraulic pressing means using water pressure to expel the crude oil. If no high temperature is generated during pressing (which usually happens), then it is also cold pressing.
  • Solvent pressing means using solvent s like hexane to expel the crude oil from the material. The advantage of this procedure is that it has very much higher % yield of the oil. However, with solvent extraction, it must be refined fully in order to be used for food, cosmetics, and bio-medical and pharmaceuticals.