Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.
It is used in animal feed, to make soap, for cooking, and as a bird food. It can be used as a raw material for the production of biodiesel and other oleochemicals. Historically, it was used to make tallow candles, which were a cheaper alternative to wax candles.
Industrially, tallow is not strictly defined as beef or mutton fat. In this context, tallow is animal fat that conforms to certain technical criteria, including its melting point, which is also known as titre. It is common for commercial tallow to contain fat derived from other animals, such as pigs.
Amid concerns in the 1990s over high cholesterol content, and protests from Hindus (many of whom do not consume food derived from beef) and vegetarians, McDonald's french fries were cooked in a mixture 93% beef tallow and 7% cottonseed oil.
Tallow is used in the steel rolling industry to provide the required lubrication as the sheet steel is compressed through the steel rollers. There is a trend towards replacing tallow based lubrication with synthetic oils in rolling applications for surface cleanliness reasons.
- Saturated fatty acids:
- Monounsaturated fatty acids:
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids:
- Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of All-American Meal. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-97789-4
- Hey Flux
- National Research Council, 1976, Fat Content and Composition of Animal Products, Printing and Publishing Office, National Academy of Science, Washington, D.C., ISBN 0-309-02440-4; p. 203, online edition