Reusing left-over oil is a very common practice adopted in most Indian kitchens. The oil dispensers are refilled with the left-over oil to be used for cooking purposes. Although it might sound economical and make sense to many, this practice is actually hampering our health.
Many stalls and food outlets also adopt this practice of using the oil multiple times. This is often the reason why some people end up with food poisoning and diarrhea after consuming such food items.
Hence, to keep a tab on this deadly practice and safeguard public health, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued guidelines on handling and disposal of used cooking oil. The guidelines do not limit to commercial food vendors, but the apex body also urged people to adopt these practices at home and avoid re-heating and using the same oil for multiple uses.
“In case of reheating of oil, use it maximum three times to avoid the formation of trans fat. It is ideal to use it only once if possible. Reheating and reuse of oil should be avoided as far as possible. Avoid using leftover oil wherever possible. Used cooking oil should be filtered frequently to remove food particles. The vegetable oil having developed Total Polar Compounds more than 25% shall not be used,” the provision highlights.
The disposal of the Used Cooking Oil (UCO) is also an environment issue which needs proper scrutiny. Hence FSSAI also came up with directives to discard UCO in a non-hazardous way.
“It is definitely not sensible to over use and reheat the oil for multiple uses. However, it also depends on the kind of usage of the oil,” adds Sheetal Manik, a homemaker.
“If the oil has been used for deep frying purposes, it is okay to use it twice or maximum thrice. Moreover, when you fry any sweet dish, they are likely to leave residue of sugar or flour coating. In such cases, the oil can hardly be used for cooking any other dish. It is better to finish off the oil when you are cooking the dish or keep adding extra oil to avoid wastage.
“When I am done using the oil, I either put the contaminated oil in a paper towel or newspaper and let them soak it after which I discard it in the dustbin. Discarding oil in drains might clog the sewage systems,” she adds.
According to a report, “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 that the quality of oil has deteriorated.”
“We use different oil for cooking different dishes. The oil used for frying won’t be used for making dals or curries. Similarly, we keep the used oil in specific jars which are disposed of properly,” says a dhaba owner at Solapur highway.
“On days when there is a huge footfall of customers, we do not use the same oil next day. On days when the oil hasn’t been used much, we store it properly and then use it the next day. We have also started using the oil in small quantity first and then increasing as required. This reduces reheating of the oil and helps in using the jar of oil for many more days,” he adds.
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