Beef tallow can be used as tallow acid too. It is just one of the few fatty acids that is added as an ingredient in all things useful to mankind. However, in the recent times, much has been said about tallow acid and its harmful effects on human beings. Many people argue that tallow acid is toxic to be used in products and that it can be environmentally hazardous too. Below are a few truths about beef tallow acid that will help you decide on how safe it is for human use:
1. What is tallow acid? Tallow acid is a fatty acid derived from animal fat, mostly beef fat. It is found in a variety of products, especially cosmetics, soaps, detergents and even in cooking. A fatty acid, tallow acid is formed by the breaking down of fat. It is formed by what is technically termed as oleochemistry, the process by which body fat is converted into fatty acids. A brief of tallow acid formation process: Hydrolysis is performed on beef tallow with the appropriate temperature and pressure to split the fats into crude forms. Then, the formed crude acids are purified by distillation and then saturated by increasing the melting point or hydrogenation. Fractional distillation is used to identify fatty acids of desired chain length.
2. Tallow as fatty acid: Though many talk ill of tallow acid, it has to be remembered that tallow acid is a fatty acid that contains a lot of saturated fats. It is a great source of energy and helps in addition of healthy fat content to the body when used in cooking. It is also one of the harder oils (like coconut oil, olive oil and ghee) and owing to its high boiling point, it can be used for deep frying. McDonald’s used beef tallow oil to cook French fries before they shifted to vegetable oil.
3. Tallow acid – uses: Uses of tallow acid are multifarious. A few common uses are tallow acid is used in products like bar soap, body wash, liquid hand soap and other rich and creamy lather soaps. Sometimes manufacturers use it in detergents, fabric softeners and other cleaning substances, insect repellents, germicides, insecticides, lubricants, water treatment agents and pigment modification products. Tallow acid is a great preservative which is used as an addictive in food or other chemical packaging.
4. Tallow acid and toxicity: Research in the recent times have suggested that Tallow acid maybe toxic to aquatic life of fish and plants. The Canadian Environmental Domestic Substance List terms tallow acid as a low human health product owing to its environmentally hazardous properties. However, in 2006, the United States FDA Food Addictive status announced that tallow acid is safe when used in limited amounts in human food. So far nothing potentially harmful has been reported in tallow acid.
5. When is tallow acid hazardous? According to the cosmetic safety database, it is confirmed that tallow acid can be hazardous when used in its raw form. However, enough studies have not been done to confirm the safety of use of tallow acid in cosmetic products.