Come March 1, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will impose a new rule on eateries and restaurants. This rule will prohibit them from using the same batch of cooking oil for more than three times.
FSSAI has notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) departments in each state to ensure that all eateries using more than 50 liters of oil per day comply with the rule from 1 March 2019. The rule has been brought into effect as per Section 16 (5) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Repeated use of cooking oil for frying can have serious repercussions, something that doctors the world-over agree.
Sharmila Sanyal, professor at the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, says, “Aldehydes form when the same cooking oil is reused and these are carcinogenic. Vegetable oils commonly used in cooking such as sunflower and corn oil will develop carcinogenic compounds after repeated use; so used oil should be thrown away,” in a report published by The Telegraph.
Pallavi Dadare, commissioner of FDA (Maharashtra division) in a report published by Times Now, said that the repeated usage of cooking oil changes the physiochemical, nutritional and sensory properties. Total polar compounds (TPCs) formed in the oil during frying are called ‘frying fats’ and the rule aims to curb the consumption of these ‘frying fats’.
According to the FSSAI website, these are the guidelines one must follow while using Used Cooking Oil (UCO)
· Oil once used for frying foods should be filtered and may be used for making curry preparations in order to make it economical. Avoid using the same oil for frying.
· UCO should be disposed of when blue-grey smoke appears or tough foam gets formed or oil becomes dark and murky or the consistency of the oil changes.
· These are some of the indications of the deteriorated quality of the oil.
Used cooking oil should be consumed in a day or two. It should not be stored for a longer period of time as the rate of deterioration is higher in used oil.
· Do not refill the fresh oil container with UCO. Store it separately.
While these rules are applicable to big eateries and establishments, ever wondered about the oil that we use at home? How many times can that be re-used? All Indian households use oil extensively in their day to day cooking and hence do not think twice about reusing the oil, sometimes even more than thrice.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when reusing oil at home.
The most important point to keep in mind is to choose the right oil for the recipe. Every oil has a specific smoking point, the temperature where the oil starts breaking down and starts, well, smoking. Dr. SC Manchanda, Department of Cardiology, Ganga Ram Hospital, told The Economic Times, “In Indian cooking conditions, which mostly involve deep frying, our age-old oils like ghee, coconut and mustard oils score better than refined and other oils in health benefits.”
Preserving the oil
After using the oil for the first time, let it cool down and then filter all the food particles. Ensure that you store it in an air-tight container. Letting pieces of food stay in the oil can turn it rancid.
Check for degradation
If the oil foams upon re-heating or emits a rancid odour then it is better to discard it. Other signs to look out for are thick texture and a dark and murky appearance.
Even if one follows all of the above guidelines, one should not be reusing oil that is more than 1 or 2 months old. Also be mindful of how much oil you use in your cooking. Try and minimize its usage so that there is hardly any leftover oil to begin with.
Be mindful of the quality and quantity of the cooking that you are allowing in your body. Small but smart changes in the present will benefit us in big ways in the future.