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What’s That in My Shea?

[POSTED ON: 14th August 2019]
Foreign Matter Shea Butter

What’s that in my shea?  Don’t worry.  Baraka Shea Butter may occasionally have remnants of the Shea Nut solids or other foreign matter because of the traditional methods used for processing. This can be avoided through a mechanized process, using solvents to extract shea butter and ripping the economic impact from the women and communities and passing it off to the factories. Baraka Shea Butter will never be processed this way.

Baraka Shea Butter is 100% handmade by women and families using traditional methods and no chemicals or additives. As much of the money as possible ends up in the hands of the producers and not in the hands of equipment makers and factory operators.

Every once in a while this means that there will be a bit of the Shea Nut solid or other matter that avoids the screening and filtering. Every batch is screened and filtered twice, and our quality control team inspects it and observes as the women pack it into cartons. Fortunately, anything that does slip by is in an anaerobic environment, so decay doesn’t happen or happens very slowly and is localized. Every shipment is inspected and analyzed as well (see attached analysis).

Sometimes you will find areas of darker colouring around a piece of husk that snuck through the filtering process. You can simply scoop this away – the remainder of the shea butter is perfectly fine.

If you are not happy with your current shipment in any way please let us know and we will replace it. No questions asked.

If you are interested, please let us explain how it is that you have ended up with some shea nut hulls.

We start from our commitment to working directly with women and families and trying to support them with their education and development priorities and at the same time to bring an authentic, traditional product to customers like you.

This means that we set up traditional processing centers where the women are supported to do all the processing by hand with only a minimal use of equipment (like the organic grinding mill we set up for them). The more equipment that is used the larger the percentage of the cost of the Shea Butter goes to equipment manufacturers and factory operators and less for the women and families.

Mechanization and factory processing would lower the costs and make the quality slightly more consistent (filtering and straining is easier to manage) but would take over 70% of the revenue from the women and families and would not allow us to honestly claim we are supplying a traditional, hand-made product.

We work closely with the producers, providing them with material for straining and constantly trying to help them ensure there are no hulls make it into the final product. But, sometimes things get by and we end up with small bits like you have found.

We are sorry for that and will replace it no questions asked (and let you keep the original carton you were not happy with). We realize this is an inconvenience for you, our customer, and know it is an added cost for us.

But, it is a cost we are willing to pay in order to support the women and their families and to ensure that our product is traditional and hand-made. We hope that you understand.

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