Albanian authorities have launched a probe on the use of palm oil in dairy product in the country. The investigation was driven by concerns made public by Fiks Fare show at Top Channel, which revealed that palm oil was used in dairy products.

Labels of the analyzed samples did not contain information on the palm oil used for the product. Albania’s National Food Authority announced that it received samples of dairy products (butter, yellow cheese and yoghurt cream) from the dairy companies mentioned in the show, and will carry out additional analysis at the Food Safety Institution to check for the contents of the products and traces of palm oil.

NFA said that there will be measures against food business operators if the results with show that the palm oil was used but not declared in the food labels.

An analysis done by the reporters showed that the majority of brands producing butter, used palm oil while the labels of the products describe them as rich in natural milk fats.

Experts and doctors classify palm oil as dangerous to the human health if the oil is used without any criteria or in large amounts. Nevertheless, palm oil is used to produce butter and cheese.
AgroWeb.org has been publishing news stories on the damages caused by the palm oil even before the scandal broke out. You can read about it here

Top Channel reports that the samples were analyzed at the Institute of Food Safety and Veterinary. There were about 20 samples (16 samples of butter products and 4 of chees samples) analyzed and the results showed that only 1 of the samples met the standards and the remaining 19 samples had an amount of 5 up to 50 percent of palm oil.

Palm oil imports in Albania

Reporters shows contacted NFA to get more information on palm oil imports and were told that only 2016, imports amounted to 3,720 tons. There are roughly 24 companies that import palm oil for commercial purposes and mostly in the food and sweets industry. Data shows that since the beginning of 2017, the industry imported about 1,500 tons. Palm oil is a profitable business for the food industry, since products prepared with this oil reduce costs and preserve the conditions of the product for a longer term.
A liter of palm oil costs about 180 ALL whereas 1 kg of butter costs about 600 ALL. One kg of yellow cheese costs roughly 800 ALL, or three times cheaper.

Results

Eight samples with traces of palm oil from 5 to 10 percent.

1. Butter Conad (1.4594)
2. Imported mozzarella cheese (1.4595)
3. Butter Lufra (1.4593)
4. Butter Despar (1.4595)
5. Butter President (1.4589)
6. Butter Klegen (1.4595)
7. Butter Burro Bianco Fiore (1.4593)
8. Yellow cheese Klegen (1.4589)

11 samples with a content of palm oil from 20-50 percent
1. Butter Mireli (1.4599)
2. Butter Klegen (1.4599)
3. Butter Erzeni (1.4599)
4. Spar German (from SPAR Supermarket) (1.4655)
5. Yellow Cheese Gjirofarma (1.4605)
6. Cow’s Yellow Cheese Lope (packaged from KMY) (1.4615)
7. Melted Butter Erzeni (1.4603)
8. Butter Soal (1.4639)
9. Butter Extra Milk (1.4626)
10. Butter Ajka (1.4628)
11. Butter Fshati (a dairy store located at the Kavaja street in Tirana)