ARGAN OIL QUALITY
Exceptional Quality through State-of-the-Art Small Batch Production
At the turn of the millennium, Argan oil was literally unknown outside of Morocco. Only small volumes were made locally for domestic consumption. Since then, the picture has drastically changed. Today, Argan oil has become big business: More than one million gallons are produced yearly. Vast amounts of Argan oil are mass-manufactured. Unfortunately, the quality of the Argan oil is often less important than profitability. Today, thousands of Argan oil products flood the market, most containing industrially mass-produced oil.
THE WORLD ARTISAN GUILD DIFFERENCE
orld Artisan Guild’s Argan oil is not mass-manufactured. We work closely with our partners, the Atlas women co-operative
and Organic Potions to guarantee the highest possible quality Our Argan oil is
cold-pressed from freshly opened seeds and certified USDA organic. It exceeds the strict
Moroccan government standards for “extra-virgin Argan oil”.
Ensuring Superior Argan Oil Quality
With the support of German Technical Development Agency SVP, the production teams from the Atlas women cooperative and Organic Potions have developed a strict production and quality management plan. The quality management plan incorporates modern HACCP principles (Hazard analysis and critical control points), identifying all critical steps during the production process that require constant monitoring. Samples of our Argan oil are analyzed twice, once at the women co-operative and a second time at the Organic Potions facility. Before accepting the oil in our us warehouse, we take a third sample to ensure that the imported
Argan oil index meets all of our strict quality expectations.
The actual extraction of the oil is done with a low pressure screw press. The capacity per screw-press is around ten gallons of oil per shift. After extraction, the oil is decanted for three days and subsequently strained. At this point, a sample is taken and analyzed. Finally, the Argan oil is transferred from the rural co-operative to the A facility in the coastal city of Agadir to be prepared for export.
Organic Potions is a state-of-the-art facility established by Italian-Moroccan engineer . The facility is in close proximity to the Argan forest. The location is registered with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has an organic certification from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
At Organic Potions oil is filtered to our exact specifications. Before the filtered Argan oil is transferred into export containers, another sample is taken and analyzed to ensure that all important quality criteria are met.
It all starts with the Seed
Argan oil is extracted from the seeds of the Argan nut. The current Argan oil boom has resulted in a shortage of Argan seeds. Agents of industrial Argan oil producers comb through the Moroccan countryside to buy large volumes of seeds in the rural markets, whatever the quality. Often, these seeds are broken, oxidized or pre-digested by goats.
The Atlas women co-operative uses only seeds of the highest quality. Before removing the seeds from the Argan nut, the women ensure that the nut shells are not cracked or otherwise compromised. The co-operative never stores open Argan seeds for longer than one day to avoid premature oxidation.
The Difference between Industrially Produced Argan Oil and Co-op Argan Oil
According to a study by the German
Development Agency SVP, less than 5% of Argan oil is made by women co-operatives*. The vast majority of Argan oil is mass-produced by industrial presses in Morocco’s coastal cities. To increase profits, these companies use high yield oil presses, which apply considerable pressure to maximize the yield. The mechanical friction caused by industrial presses heats the oil well above temperatures acceptable for cold-pressed oil. Heat alters the chemical composition of the oil, with an adverse impact on quality. Worse, some factories extract Argan oil with chemical solvents such as Hexane.
Another issue with industrial produced Argan oil is the quality of the raw material. Argan seeds used by industrial presses are often oxidized or pre-digested by goats. To eliminate the rancid odor of oxidized or pre-digested seeds, industrial Argan oil is often deodorized through a high temperature steam process. It is a safe assumption that Argan oil without any smell is either deodorized by steam processing or extracted with chemical solvents.