Thiruvananthapuram: The Food Safety Department of the Kerala Government is all set to initiate stringent action and beef up inspections against the reuse of cooking oil in food joints.
Surprise raids would be conducted in hotels and wayside eateries. It would be monitored whether the businesses, which use more than 20 litres of cooking oil per day, adhere to the norm of handing over the used oil to the biodiesel companies.
The Centre’s rule is that the eateries that use more than 50 litres of cooking oil per day are to hand over the used oil to biodiesel companies. Considering the situation in Kerala, the limit is fixed at 20 litres of oil use per day. This would be enforced by the Department.
It is estimated that at least 10 to 20 per cent of the oil will be left over after the maximum usage, once it is boiled. At present, 20 truckloads (about 12,000 litres on average) of oil are being given to the biodiesel companies. The companies pay up to Rs 40 per litre for the used cooking oil. The food businesses are to keep a register of the used oil handed over to the biodiesel companies and are to present the register during inspections.
The Total Polar Compound (TPC) of the oil that is used for cooking must not exceed 25 per cent. The salt and other chemical components that remain in the used oil are considered the TPC. On repeated usage, drastic changes happen in the composition of the reused oil.
The use of unclean dishes and pans also causes serious health problems. When fresh oil is added to the pans with burnt and charred food stuck to it, the composition of the oil changes right from the time it starts boiling.
There are complaints that the roadside eateries add fresh oil without cleaning the dishes and pans well. The Food Safety officials direct to scrub away all burnt particles from the pans or dishes rather than washing them just for the sake of it.