A further update on the use of oils as temporary ingredient substitutes
Ukraine conflict is now affecting sunflower oil availability, but food labels may be unchanged

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have recently been updating both consumers and businesses regarding the current situation that alternative food grade vegetable oils may be being used as a substitute for sunflower oil. This is despite the fact that some food labels are still stating that the product contains sunflower oil. 

The reason for this anomaly is the current situation in Ukraine, which is an important world producer and supplier of food grade sunflower oil. 

The most recent update states that fully refined corn (maize) oil is now added to the list of approved sunflower oil substitutions which are refined rapeseed oil, fully refined palm oil, fully refined coconut oil and fully refined soybean oil

The report also recognises that because of the urgency, some food labels may not yet have been updated and still carry the information that the food product contains sunflower oil. 

It is stressed that food labeling must be updated as quickly as possible! 

A risk assessment report has been published and the findings show that the risk of allergic reaction to the substitute oils is either very low and for fully refined soybean oil it is negligible! 

Consequently, allergic reaction to the fully refined substitute oils is extremely rare. If they do occur the report confirms that they are very mild. 

Chief Executive of the FSA, Emily Miles, stated: “People must be confident that the food they buy is safe and what it says it is.” 

“We continue to expect food businesses to make sure consumers are aware of any potential oil substitutions that are not reflected on the label, such as through point-of-sale notices and information on their websites.” 

“We expect the food industry to work rapidly towards meeting their regulatory labeling obligations so that consumers can have food they can trust.” 

Oils other than the five listed above may be used as substitutions for sunflower oil in certain products, but labeling inaccuracies are not permitted so clear information must be reflected on the labeling. 

This information is forwarded by Aerona (Air and Sea) Customs Clearing Agents Ltd so that affected organisations may gain a clearer picture of the current (and hopefully temporary) situation. 

Further information may be obtained from the official Government website: https://www.food.gov.uk 

You can contact Aerona by telephoning 0161 652 3443 and we will do our very best to be of assistance. You could also email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can send us a message using the form that can be found on our Contact page. Please remember, at Aerona we are here to help you.