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Please be informed that the CFRR in partnership with the Technical Committee on Development of the Philippine National Standard for Virgin Coconut Oil for Human Consumption has drafted the attached PNS entitled “Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) for Human Consumption”. All concerned stakeholders may submit comments in MSWORD format via email to [email protected] on or before 13 June 2022 using the format below.




At the request of the Virgin Coconut Oil Producers and Traders Association of the Philippines, Inc. (VCOP), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), a recognized Standard Development Organization (SDO) by the Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS), facilitated the amendment of the PNS for Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) PNS/BAFPS  22:2007 to standardize the quality and ensure safety of VCO products distributed locally and exported globally. The Technical Committee (TC2) was composed of representatives from academe, VCO industry, research and testing institutions, government agencies, and professional organizations.

This standard was prepared with inputs from Dayrit et al., (2022). We thank the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCIEERD-DOST) for funding the research project.

This standard supersedes PNS/BAFPS 22:2007 ICS67.200.10 Virgin Coconut Oil.

1. Scope
This standard applies to Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) intended for human consumption including use as Food Supplement.
2. Normative Reference
PNS/BAFPS 22:2007 ICS67.200.10 Virgin Coconut Oil
3. Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.
Centrifugation Method
a technique in VCO production to separate the oil from coconut milk using rotational force of a centrifuge

Coconut Meat/Kernel
Also called endosperm, is the firm white, edible flesh attached to the shell

Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is a thick white emulsion obtained by manually or mechanically pressing the fresh, grated mature coconut kernel. Coconut milk is a less viscous emulsion that is obtained by addition of water or coconut water to the coconut cream. The term coconut milk may be used to refer to both coconut milk and coconut cream which are intermediate products of the wet process.

Expeller-pressing Method
fresh-dry method of VCO production where the VCO is squeezed from dried, grated coconut kernel using an expeller

Food/Dietary Supplement refers to a processed food product intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients: vitamin, mineral, amino acids, herb or dietary substance or botanical, animal, artificial or natural origin to increase the total daily intake in amounts conforming to the latest Philippine recommended energy and nutrient intake or internationally agreed minimum requirements.

Free Fatty Acids (FFA)
fatty acids present in the oil that are not chemically bound, the amount of which is used as indicator of hydrolytic deterioration of the oil

compounds formed by the combination of glycerol and fatty acids which occur naturally in oils and fats

Mature Coconut
Coconut which exhibits change in husk color from green or yellow or orange to brown or grayish-brown. This occurs from 10 to 12 months after pollination.

Natural Fermentation Method
method of VCO production wherein the freshly squeezed coconut milk is allowed to stand for several hours until the oil separates from the aqueous (o/w) emulsion by inherent microbial and enzyme action

a thin brown layer between the shell and white coconut meat

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)
clear colorless unadulterated oil obtained from the fresh kernel of the mature coconut by mechanical or physical extraction or natural fermentation methods, with or without application of heat, without undergoing chemical refining, bleaching or deodorizing. Below 25°C, VCO solidifies and becomes white in color.

4. Process
VCO can be described according to the principal process that is used in obtaining the oil from the fresh coconut kernel or coconut milk. Addition of chemicals is not permitted. The use of heat should not cause the oil to turn slightly yellow or have a burnt flavor. Processing temperature should not exceed 90°C.

5. Essential Identity and Quality Characteristics
VCO consists mainly of triglycerides with a composition that is predominantly saturated medium chain fatty acids and stable to oxidation even when exposed to high temperatures. The fatty acid composition of VCO is distinct from animal fats, which are composed mainly of long chain fatty acids. Refer to Table 2 for the VCO fatty acid composition.

5.1      Identity characteristics

Table 1. Identity characteristics

Parameter Value
Fatty acid composition See Table 2
Spectrophotometric measurement, absorbance at 278 nm A278  £ 1.5
Iodine value* 4.0 – 12.0
Unsaponifiable matter, wt/wt* £ 0.60%
Organoleptic characteristics (aroma, flavor and color) * VCO should have either nutty, acid or latik aroma and flavor, or combinations of any of these sensory characteristics as described in Table 6.


Table 2.  Fatty acid composition by gas chromatography

Common name Designation Range (% FA)
Medium chain fatty acids
Caproic Acid C6:0 nd – 1.0
Caprylic Acid C8:0 3.2 – 10.0
Capric Acid C10:0 3.5 – 8.0
Lauric Acid C12:0 45.0 – 56.0
Long chain fatty acids
Myristic Acid C14:0 16.0 – 22.3
Palmitic Acid C16:0 7.5 – 11.4
Stearic Acid C18:0 2.0 – 5.0
Oleic Acid C18:1 4.8 – 10.0
Linoleic Acid C18:2 0.5 – 2.5
Linolenic Acid C18:3 nd – 0.2
≥ C20 nd – 0.1

5.2      Quality characteristics

Table 3. Quality characteristics

Parameter Value
Odor and Taste Free from foreign rancid odor and taste
Color Colorless
Solidification Below 25 °C, VCO is white solid.
Insoluble impurities/Sediments (wt/wt), max* 0.05%
Moisture (wt/wt), max. 0.10%
FFA (as Lauric acid), max. 0.20%
Peroxide value, (meq/kg), max. 3.0
Additives None permitted


6. Contaminants

6.1 Microbiological contaminants

Table 4. Acceptable levels of microbiological contaminants in VCO

Parameter Value*
Aerobic Plate Count, max 100 CFU/mL
Yeast and Mold Count, max 10 CFU/mL
Total Coliform, max <3.0 MPN/mL or <10 CFU/mL
Escherichia coli <3.0 MPN/mL or <10 CFU/mL
Salmonella spp. not detected in 25g

*per volume or weight equivalent

6.2      Metal contaminants

Table 5.  Maximum levels of metal contaminants in VCO

Metal contaminant Value
Metals (mg/kg), max.
Iron (Fe)

Copper (Cu)



Toxic metals (mg/kg), max.
Lead (Pb)

Arsenic (As)



7. Hygiene

Production process of VCO should be in accordance with the appropriate Sections of the Recommended International Code of Practice – General Principles of Food Hygiene recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, RCP 1 – 1969, Rev. 2020 and its latest revision, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Administrative Order No. 153 Series of 2004 entitled “Revised Guidelines on Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, Repacking, or Holding Food” and its future amendment thereof.

8. Packaging

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) should be packed in any suitable food-grade container that can withstand transportation, handling, and storage conditions. The packaging should be able to protect and maintain the quality of VCO for the duration of the declared shelf-life.

9. Labeling requirements
The label of each package shall have the following information:

9.1 Product Name: “Virgin Coconut Oil”
9.2 Process: “Natural fermentation”, “Centrifuge”, “Expeller” or “Physical”
9.3 Brand Name and /or Trademark
9.4 Allergen Information
9.5 Net volume or Net weight
9.6 Name and address of Manufacturer, Repacker, Packer, Importer, Trader and Distributor
9.7 Nutrition Facts/Nutrition Information
9.8 Storage condition: “Store away from direct sunlight.”
9.9 Lot Identification Number/Code
9.10 Expiration Date/Use-by-Date/Consume Before Date (Recommended last consumption date) in alpha numeric format (ie. 10Jan23)
9.11 Manufacturing Date:
9.12 Philippine FDA License to Operate (LTO) Number, FDA Food Registration (FR) Number and bar code are optional
9.13 For VCO applied as Food Supplement, the phrase “Food/Dietary Supplement” as part of product name, and “NO APPROVED THERAPEUTIC CLAIMS” in prescribed format in accordance to Bureau Circular No. 02 s. 1999 shall be declared.

The product shall also be labeled in accordance with the appropriate sections of FDA Administrative Order 2014-0030 entitled “Revised Rules and Regulations Governing the Labelling of Prepackaged Food Products Distributed in the Philippines” and its latest revision.

10. Methods of analysis

10.1 Determination of fatty acid composition
According to AOAC Official Method 969.33 and ISO 12966-4:2015 in Annex A.

10.2 Iodine value
According to AOAC Official Method 920.158 or AOAC Official Method 920.159 in Annex B.

10.3 Identity
Absorbance determination using UV-visible spectrophotometer in Annex C.

10.4 Solidification
Determination of solidification in Annex D.

10.5 Insoluble impurities/Sediments
According to ISO 663:2007 in Annex E.

10.6 Moisture
According to AOAC Official Method 984.20. Karl Fischer method in Annex F

10.7 Sensory evaluation

Table 6. Descriptive sensory evaluation (aroma and flavor) for use in Identity and

Quality characteristics

Descriptor Definition Reference Standards
Nutty Aroma associated with the 2nd layer of fresh coconut kernel with testa Second layer fresh coconut kernel cubes with testa
Latik2 Aroma associated with cooked, sweet, coagulated coconut milk Homemade latik2
Acid Aroma associated with acetic acid solutions Glacial Acetic Acid Solutions:

0.1% GAA

0.5% GAA

Rancid Aroma associated with old, unpleasant, acrid, and acidic oil Caprylic Acid in refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) coconut oil matrix
Nutty Flavor associated with the 2nd layer of fresh coconut kernel with testa Second layer fresh coconut kernel cubes with testa
Latik 2 Flavor associated with cooked, sweet, coagulated coconut milk Homemade latik2
Acid Flavor associated with acetic acid solutions Distilled Vinegar Solutions

3.5% Distilled Vinegar

Rancid Flavor associated with old, unpleasant, acrid, and acidic oil Caprylic Acid in RBD matrix

1 Villarino et al. (2020)

2 In total, 1.5kg coconut milk is boiled for 3 hours in an aluminum pan until it coagulates and turns brown.

10.8    FFA (as Lauric acid)

According to AOCS, 2017 ed., Official Method Ca 5a-40 and AOAC Official Method 940.28 with Modification in Annex G.

 10.9   Peroxide value

According to AOAC Official Method 965.33 and AOCS Recommended Method Cd 8-53 with Modification in Annex H.

10.10  Microbiological test

Protocols based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM). 2021. Accessible at

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Methods, AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (OMA) and AOAC Performance Tested Methods (PTM) and other recognized reference methods for microbiological testing can also be used.

10.11   Metal analysis

According to the official methods listed in the table below.

Table 7. References for metal analysis.

Metal AOAC Official Method ISO AOCS
Copper 990.05 8294:1994 or 21033:2016a Ca 18b-91 (03)
Iron 990.05 8294:1994 or 21033:2016a Ca 18b-91 (03)
Lead 972.23c or 994.02, or 2015.01b 12193:2004 or 21033:2016a Ca 18c-91
Arsenic 957.22-1960(2002), or 985.16 or 2015.01b    
a ISO 21033:2016 is a direct, simultaneous determination of most of the trace metals (mercury and arsenic are not included) in animal and vegetable fats and oils by inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectrophotometry (ICP-OES). The samples are diluted in a solvent (usually xylene), and the solution is directly aspirated into the ICP-OES.
b AOAC 2015.01 is a general method for the determination of Pb, Cd, As and Hg in food using inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry. Since this is a new method, further validation will be needed for its applicability to oil samples.
c AOAC 972.23 is a method for the determination of lead in fish, will need further validation if it is to be used for oils


11. Methods of sampling

Sampling shall be based according to CAC/GL 50-2004 (Codex General Guidelines on Sampling), CAC/RM 42-1969 (Codex Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods) or ISO 5555:2001 (Animal and Vegetable Fats and Oils, Sampling).