The practice of reheating cooking oil or using the same cooking oil for frying is common. The same cooking oil is often repeatedly used by topping it with fresh oil. Generally, big food businesses involved in the manufacturing of fried foods dispose of their used cooking oil for industrial purposes like soap manufacturing but sometimes it finds its way to small food vendors at cheap prices. Disposal of used cooking oil at the household level and by small vendors is done in an environmentally hazardous manner which blocks the sewage and drainage systems. Therefore, in order to safeguard public health FSSAI has notified the limit of Total Polar compounds to be not more than 25% beyond which the oil is unsafe for human consumption. This guidance note outlines the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for safe handling and disposal of the UCO for benefit of consumers as well as small and big Food Business Operators.
Edible vegetable oils are used in the frying of foods. During frying, the quality of the oil deteriorates. Using the same oil for frying repeatedly leads to changes in the physicochemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the oil. It also leads to the formation of Total, Polar Compounds (TPC), which makes the oils, unfit for human consumption beyond certain limits. Reports have associated these compounds to several diseases to several diseases such as hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease etc.
The purpose of this gratitude note is to outline proper means for handling and disposing of used oil in order to safeguard the environment and consumer health.
Guidelines in Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations 2011
At present, following provisions in Schedule 4 Part V- Specific Hygienic and Sanitary Practices are to be followed by Food Business Operators in catering/ food service establishments:
- Reuse of cooking oil should be avoided
- In case of re-heating of oil, use the maximum three times to avoid the formation of trans fat. It is ideal to use it once only if possible
- Re-heating and reuse of oil should be avoided as far as possible. Avoid using leftover oil wherever possible
- The vegetable oil having developed Total Polar Compounds more than 25% shall not be used.
Disposal of Used Cooking Oil (UCO)
At present the UCO is either not discarded at all or disposed of in an environmentally hazardous manner, choking drains and sewage systems. Also, UCO from organized Business Operators (FBO) reportedly finds its way to small restaurants /dhabas and roadside vendors, which may lead to adverse health effects.
Procedures to be followed for handling and disposal of UCO
- For small FBOs
- Do not use the same oil more than three times. The ideal is to use it only once
- Used cooking oil should be filtered frequently to remove food particles
- 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.
- Do not dispose of the discarded oil in drains and sewage systems
- UCO should be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner preferably by providing it to the authorized UCO aggregator/collection agencies that are registered with authorized agencies such as States Biodiesel Board, Biodiesel Association of India and other agencies nominated by the state governments to collect such oil for the manufacture of biodiesel or other industrial purposes.
- Keep UCO away from flame and gas cylinders
- FBOs must refrain from buying UCO for manufacturing their food products.
- For Big FBOs
- Cooking oils that have developed Total Polar Compounds beyond the limit of 25% are hazardous waste. Discard such edible oil
- Keep the discarded oil in a separate container once it is cooled. Keep headspace while filling. Always label the container to avoid cross-contamination.
- Do not transfer hot oil to avoid chances of spilling and injury
- Transfer the used oil safely into the collecting drums provided by the authorised collection agencies.
- Keep cooking oil away from flam, gas cylinder, etc.
- UCO should be discarded in an environmentally friendly way preferably by providing it to the authorised agencies such as States Biodiesel Boards, Biodiesel Association of India and other agencies nominated by the state government.
- All Food business operators should train their staff responsible for handling and disposal of used cooking oil regarding procedures prescribed in this document
- All FBOs whose consumption of edible oil for frying is more than 50kg/litres per day shall maintain the following record
|Date||Name of oil||Quantity of oil used in frying||Quantity consumed at the end of the day||Quantity discarded at the end of the day||Mode and date of disposal of used cooking oil||Used cooking oil collected by (name of the authorised agency)|
- For households
- At the household level, 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.
In order to dispose of small quantities of UCO, mix the oil with an absorbent material, such as sand or sawdust or used towel or paper towel or food scraps to avoid the chances of spillage and then throw it away in dustbins.