• 1 International Medical University


A review of the literature indicates that food scientists and health authorities in several countries, especially member countries of the European Union, are still very concerned about the potential health hazards of oxidized products and lipid polymers formed in repeatedly-used deep frying oils. During the frying process at temperatures of 170° – 200°C, steam formed from moisture in the food being fried help volatile products rise to the surface of the frying medium and into the kitchen atmosphere, imparting a mixture of fried-flavours and off-flavours. The non-volatile compounds formed, however, gradually build up in the oil as it is being repeatedly-used for food frying operations. These non-volatiles, primarily “polar compounds” (PC) and to a lesser extent lipid polymers, get absorbed into fried foods and eventually end up in our body system. Available local data suggests that deep-frying oil samples obtained from food hawkers and those produced under simulated deep-frying conditions in the laboratory, are generally safe as they contain PC within safe limits and rarely exceed the upper limit (UL) of 25%. This contrasts with the situation in some European countries where a very high proportion of frying oil samples collected from fast-food restaurants were reported to contain PC exceeding this UL. Appropriately, promotion of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification and gazetting of food regulations to limit the PC content in frying oils have been introduced in these countries to protect the health of consumers. Meanwhile, simple gadgets/test kits are available commercially to monitor the quality of the frying oil. This would greatly assist kitchen supervisors at restaurants and franchised friedfood outlets to know when best to change a batch of frying oil before the ULs of frying oil quality are breached.