Palm oil is the major cooking oil in Cameroon, and crude palm oil (CPO) is an essential ingredient of many local recipes. However, the quality of this foodstuff is subject to doubt, considering the very often inadequate conditions of its extraction and storage in the fast growing small holder sector. In order to assess the quality of (CPO) available to Cameroonian consumers, 40 samples of this product were randomly collected in 10 major markets of the city of Douala and assayed through three physico-chemical parameters, namely oil acidity, peroxide value (PV) and moisture content. Results of this study showed that the quality of CPO samples was good regarding PV, as all values were below the 15 meqO2/kg maximal limit. However, data from oil acidity determination were cause for concern, as 50% of the samples had values above the 5% acidity maximal limit for CPO. The worst was for moisture content which had all values above the 0.2% maximal limit. Considering that high moisture content inevitably enhances deterioration reactions involved in food spoilage, one can easily conclude that the quality of the CPO samples assessed was quite poor but above all could rapidly undergo further deterioration upon storage.
Key words: Oil palm, crude palm oil, food safety, quality, food deterioration.
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