Saturday, July 21, 2012

Question: How can grapeseed oil have a one year shelf life?

Julie wrote this great comment in this post, and I had to address it! (I'm editing a bit for length...definitely visit the post to see the conversation in full!) Hi Susan! I looked at my Crafter's Choice Grape Seed Oil I purchased from WSP about 2 months ago. It says on the bottle it is good for 1 year, until next spring. How is this possible? I asked a WSP representative about it...Cayla (the representative): I'm not sure where you heard three month shelf life... Here are our instructions. Short Term Storage: Air tight container. Dark location. Cool room temperature. Long Term Storage. Removing air from storage container will delay oxidation and rancidity (may need to place in a smaller container). Refrigeration can extend shelf life. Best Used By: One year from date of purchase.What do you make of this? I also have a bottle of Grape Seed Oil from the grocery store with a use by date of March 2014. The bottle says "Grape Seed Oil is an excellent source of Vitamin E (25% of the recommended daily intake) and contains antioxidants"

The short answer? Oils kept in a cool, dark place, the fridge, or the freezer will have a longer shelf life than one that is left in the bright sunlight in a warm place. So you could say that grapeseed oil kept under optimum conditions in which rancidity is retarded will have a longer life span than one kept in average conditions.

The long answer? They are technically correct - if you put most things in the fridge, you'll extend the shelf life - but there's no way you're going to get that kind of shelf life when grapeseed oil is used in our products! Your lotions, conditioners, balms, and whipped butters are going to be subjected to humid bathrooms, warm cars, and toasty purses. When your oil is subjected to the temperature of normal life, the rate of reaction will speed up, meaning there are more opportunities to have the oil go rancid.

I think this kind of claimed shelf life is disingenuous because it isn't going to have a shelf life of a year in our products. The shelf life listed really should be the average shelf life, not one under ideal conditions. I don't think grapeseed oil purchased today and kept in a cool, dark place will still be good by April 2013. We can't always detect rancidity - our oils are going rancid every single day, but it's only when it reaches a point where we can smell it that we call it rancid. Everything I've read says grapeseed oil has a shelf life of 3 to 6 months and that it doesn't contain a lot of Vitamin E, and I trust those scholarly resources more than I trust a supplier reading from a data sheet. (I will post some scholarly links over the next few days so you can look them up yourself!)

Don't get me wrong, I love my suppliers, but I've seen a lot of misinformation passed along from data sheets. I don't expect them to know everything, but I do expect the information provided to me should be accurate. When you find a great supplier, treat her like gold!

I love this question so much, we're going to do a few posts reviewing the topics of oils, shelf lives, rancidity, and retarding rancidity as part of our Chemistry Thursday series (although we won't wait until Thursday - I'll start tomorrow!)


Diane said...

Grapeseed oil is often solvent extracted; this makes for a longer shelf life,right?

Nancy Liedel said...

This is the reason I've cut out short lived oils, except when they can be used in very small amounts with efficacy and stabilized with Rice Bran Oil, lots of E, E and ROE. I get ill thinking my products are going bad.

Another reason I make things in small batches.

Which does not save me, ever. Bad, old oils are to be watched out for and tracked by labeling you put on the package and NEVER buy short-lived oils on sale. Often these are close to the end of shelf life. I'm not saying suppliers are trying to do harm. I'm saying if it's close to expiration date, I'd be tempted to put it on sale tool

p said...

My two cents: I make a balm with grapeseed oil, lots of essential oils, and rosemary oleoresin, and I get well over a year of shelf life out of it, more like a year and a three months, and maybe a few months after that I start to notice rancidity. I think storing grapeseed oil in the fridge and adding copious antioxidants is the key. YMMV!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p. You're filling your product with anti-oxidants, which we know can retard rancidity, so I'm not surprised the product lasts longer than the 3 to 6 month shelf life! If I were to use grapeseed oil, I would load it with Vitamin E and maybe some ROE, too!

Having said that, rancidity is happening every single minute of every single day for an oil, and the point is more when does it reach that critical mass where it smells to us? Look for more information on this topic over the next week!

Hi Diane. There's no reason that something will have a longer shelf life when solvent extracted, cold proessed, or any other method, unless there's a difference in the amount of anti-oxidants in the oil. If cold pressing means more Vitamin E, the oil will have a longer shelf life.

Hi Nancy. This is why I don't use short lived oils. I might order them today for a project I might not get to until October. Grapeseed would be rancid by then. I'd hate to give someone a product with a promised shelf life of six months and have it go rancid! And given how many kids in my craft group keep their projects on a shelf as a trophy instead of a bath & body product, I can't take chances on anything that doesn't have at least a year to go!

Nancy Liedel said...

Strangely enough, I owed a company a review of their product. I opened a not brand new, 1 year old, but fresh lipstick and it was off!! I was horrified. I expect my lippies (not mine, but a major manufacturer), to last in packaging for more than a year, if not exposed to air, or light. The rancidity could be smelled right away and it really irritated me. The flaw had to be in an old oil.

Lipsticks tend to not smell heavenly on their own, so scent is added, which can mask rancidity, but in this case, all the perfumes of Arabia could not sweeten this little lippie.

Yes, I just mucked up Macbeth. I often have Shakespeare on the brain. I know at least four plays, every word, by heart and the plan is to know three tragedies and as many comedies by the time I leave this cruel world. Why? Cause I'm never going to climb a mountain and a girl needs goals. :)

Julie said...

Thanks so much Susan, you are awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hi there
I have a question about grapeseed oil.
I would love to use some form of grapeseed in my products as it has some fantastic benefits for skin. Would it be possible to use grapeseed powdered extract from capsules or are there any other forms of grapeseed that you are aware of that have a longer shelf life.

KD said...

I thought the date on the bottle was for before you open it? Like the date on a gallon of milk: it might have a three week ahead date on it, but if I open it when I get home, it will only last about 7 - 10 days.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous! (Can you sign off with your name next time? It's a new thing I'm asking anonymous posters to do around here.) What benefits do you want from grapeseed oil? I would suggest checking out the post on grapeseed oil then consulting the carrier oils comparison chart or the specific post for a carrier oil as well as the grapeseed extract post. In all my research, I haven't found anything in grapeseed oil that can't be found in another oil or in the extract. I'm not really sure why this oil is touted as being so awesome. What have you read that makes you see this oil this way? I'm really curious and would love to hear what you've learned!

Hi Kat! Our oils aren't processed the same way as milk. What generally happens is that our supplier receives a drum of oil and they divide it up into bottles in a clean environment. The count down starts when they take it out of the drum, so it could start the day you buy it or a week or two later!