More and more you hear the saying: ‘If food is not safe, then it’s not food’. It matters what you eat – and how food is produced. Argan oil, a vegetable oil, has a great safety track record for centuries: no known negative effects on health are reported, and argan is studied worldwide. The results of these studies all demonstrate health benefits and are reported on our blogs.

Allergies are a concern, and on food labels you now see warnings like ‘not produced in a factory where nuts are processed’. There is a variety of ‘nuts’, but ‘tree nuts’ are related to nut allergy. Tree nuts examples are walnut, almond, hazelnut and pistachio. A peanut is not a nut, but a seed, just like sunflower and sesame. More info on foodalergy.com

The Argan kernel is a stone fruit, not a nut or a seed. And not known to cause allergy.
The botanical name for stone fruits is drupe. A stone fruit is a soft ‘fleshy’ outside and hard stone inside. Wikipedia knows best: ‘The stone is sometimes called the seed, but that is a mistake, as the seed (for argan ‘ kernel’) is inside the stone. The stones can also be called pits. Examples of stone fruits are peaches, lychees, mangoes and cherries. These fruits are edible and used frequently in cooking. (Source: Wikipedia)

Besides safe and healthy, again, Argan oil is not known to be related to nut allergy.
Good news, as allergies are a serious concern in food and cosmetics. As Argan is a vegetable oil, it is vegan. This fall, San Francisco based company Nima (www.nimasensor.com) will launch a small chemistry based sensor that detects if avoidable ingredients are present. As you know now, not applicable for Argan oil.

Argan Oil Tree

Ripening argan at the Argan tree

The argan fruit varies in color during the ripening process: from green to yellow and is wild harvested when they fall on the ground.
The fleshy fruit part on the outside dries fast and the stone is crushed by hand to retrieve the kernel.
ripe argan kernels
Storing and selecting of the kernels is an important quality factor. The roasting of the kernel, an artisanal process, resulting in Culinary Argan oil.

argan fruit and kernel

From left to right from Argan fruit to kernel. The stone is light, but very hard to crack. All done by hand.

Argan is safe to use and when it is organic certified like ours, you know the complete process from harvest to bottle is safe and according to highest standards. If you want to check the authenticity of USDA organic certification, please visit: https://organic.ams.usda.gov/Integrity/ ; the database of the NOP ( National Organic Program)
Modern production facilities are taken over the traditional grinding of the kernels, bringing hygiene and safety standards to nowadays demands.Adding water to the pressing, as traditionally is done, does not work to meet quality batch production..

In the past goats climbed the trees and ate the fleshy part of the fruit, leaving the stones behind.
As these stones passed the ingestive traject of the goats, they smell and the quality of the kernel is negatively affected. So larger manufacturers found a ‘solution’ to produce these inferior kernel; deodorize, resulting in a lesser quality. Yikes.
The Moroccan government has banned the goats from the argan forests. The official ‘Norme Marocaine’ has 4 categories, Extra Virgin and Virgin being the top 2. Other than other vegetable oils, there is no ‘first pressing’. Cold-pressed argan is the best way to produce quality oil. To learn more about health benefits, please read other blog posts on this website.

Inspired to create dishes? Please let us know. Do it yourself roasting of other stone fruits? Here is Jamie Oliver:
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/roasted-stone-fruit/

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