Rice bran oil has a high smoke point of 232°C, as other refined and stabilised oils do. It’s free of trans fats and relatively low in saturated fat at around 20%, and contains 32% polyunsaturates and 40% monounsaturated which makes it similar in composition to sesame oil.
So what’s the issue? There are two. The ways it’s been processed and the potentially high levels of heavy metals present.
If the rice bran oil had been extracted by cold pressed method then ok, but it’s not. The oil is extracted by a company in Thailand and is extracted using solvents. It goes something like this –
The oil extracted from rice bran goes rancid quickly once pressed. To refine it, a solvent is used to extract the oil from the germ which is later evaporated off (and tested post-production for residual solvents to double check for traces). That’s followed by neutralisation, bleaching, winterisation and de-odourisation steps, as with most other oils the rice bran oil is subjected to high temperatures during the extraction phase prior to the filtration. This creates refined and stabilized oil, bringing about a long shelf life and high smoke point. what you lose is a clean oil.
Many people are also asking about arsenic in brown rice products like rice bran oil and rice syrup. Arsenic is a natural element that can contaminate soil, as well as groundwater used for drinking and irrigation. Residue from decades of the routine use of arsenic-based herbicides and insecticides pose a real threat to all food production, organic and conventional. Regardless of how it is raised, rice plants grown in soils still contaminated with arsenic will extract the element from the soil, and some will be present in the grain harvested from those plants. it’s also important to note that all minerals, including heavy metals, cannot be created or destroyed – they can only be redistributed and recycled in our ecosystem. Therefore, these minerals are everywhere. Man has played a role in the concentration of some of these minerals in certain areas. The historic use of arsenic-based pesticides and herbicides (especially with crops like cotton) has concentrated this mineral more in certain agricultural areas than others.
According to what I read, the arsenic in question is largely organic arsenic, the version of this mineral that is not absorbed by the human body. If you’re worried, then check with the manufacturer as to where their rice is grown and if that country has a history of arsenic in the soil. Pakistan, a country along with India and parts of California has shown to produce rice with the least amount of naturally-occurring and arsenic-based pesticides. China has the highest levels. Another reason to eat seaweed (not form Japan though) – they help pull heavy metals out of our body. #CookingOilsWeek #ricebranoil