I recently posted a Blog regarding some notes about Fats and Oils, FAMES and our Famewax column, which can be found here. In Food Industry the challenge may be a bit heavier, if the amount of Trans Fatty Acids is requested.
Therefore some European Countries have taken action and have introduced a legal limit of IFTAS in Food, starting with Denmark in 2003, followed by some other countries like Austria, Hungary and Latvia. Voluntary self-regulation industrial measures have been implemented in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK and Greece. Legal measures limiting in this area exist also in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and the US.
This said, there is obviously a lack of homogeneity in the whole EU in relation to limitation of IFTAs in food, what is causing problems in an effective functioning of the internal EU market (e.g. protection of consumers’ health). Therefore SANTE (EU Directorate General of Health and Food Safety) has started a new “Initiative to limit industrial trans fats intakes in the EU”, which may lead to an increasing challenge in Food characterization. The final SANTE statement is supposed to be given during 3rd quarter of 2017.
Measuring the Fatty Acid composition of Food, including IFTAs, is challenging and normally follows the EN ISO 12966-2015, Part 1 to 4 (Animal and vegetable fats and oils –Gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters), which is also ground base of some national method developments as given in DGF C-VI 10a/11a in Germany
For us, as one of the leading GC separation column producer, in particular the ISO 129664:2015 “Animal and vegetable fats and oils – Gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters – Part 4: Determination by capillary gas chromatography” is the most important part, giving some recommendations of suitable columns to be used.
Chapter 5 (Apparatus) indicates as a suitable Capillary column “fused silica capillary 100 m and 0,25 mm i.d. coated with 100 % cyanopropylsilicone stationary phase to a thickness of 0,20 µm.”
Due to its high polarity this column is not easy to be manufactured, as many users may have recognized in the past. This column cannot be manufactured as a bonded version. Until now, this results in some draw back, like change of polarity during lifetime (having changes in retention times) and in some production inconsistencies, recognized as differing batch to batch reliability. This is due to phase chemistry and could be seen all around commercial available products.
Restek scientists therefore have started an initiative to overcome most of the mentioned issues. Having all production processes under control, starting with the manufacturing of raw fused silica and the in-house production of high end polymers to achieve the best possible stationary phase, we have improved a lot of the manufacturing processes, which gave us the opportunity to implement tighter controls on specifications to guarantee low bleed and a more stable baseline. This initiative leads to more consistency in the product and much more reliability for your measurements.
This sounds like a huge step forward in characterizing the fat composition of Food, especially regarding the analysis of the mentioned ITFAs. Some of the impressive results can be seen here.
But as always, the best proof is to check these results by yourself. Ask your regional Restek Sales Representative about this column and make your own decision.