Corn oil derived from distillers grains supplies almost a fifth of the U.S. biodiesel feedstock market and is increasing the amount of glycerin produced. But unless the distillers corn oil (DCO) produced during ethanol production is kosher, opportunities for the resulting glycerin in food markets may be limited, according to an article in Biodiesel Magazine (http://bit.ly/…).
The definition of kosher comes from laws from the Torah in the Old Testament and dictates what foods can or cannot be eaten according to Jewish law, as well as how they must be prepared.
Rabbi Abraham Juravel, the rabbinic coordinator of technical services for the Orthodox Union, spoke recently at the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo in Milwaukee about the importance of certifying glycerin as kosher to expand market opportunities.
Glycerin is a food additive used in a wide variety of products. While crude vegetable oil is kosher, the refining process many times are not. The problem is that some plants refine both animal fats and vegetable oil, and there are no animal fats or edible tallows on the market that are kosher, Juravel said.
Many big companies -- including Proctor & Gamble, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland -- produce kosher glycerin.
Juravel suggested that ethanol producers extracting DCO for biodiesel consider what demulsifiers they use in the extraction process, as some demulsifiers (which separate the oil from the distillers grains) come from animals or vegetables. He added there are several companies that produce demulsifiers that are kosher.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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