THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Repeated use of cooking oil for frying food can have serious repercussions on health. To ensure an end to this practice, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had imposed a rule on eateries and restaurants to prohibit them from using the same batch of oil more than three times.
As part of the rule, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) departments in the city are taking measures to ensure that all eateries using more than 50 litres of oil per day comply with it. A survey, which is being carried out to find the disposal methods of food business operators (FBOs) in the city, will conclude by the end of this month and strict action will be taken against violators.
The initiative, ‘RUCO’ (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil), of the Kerala Commissionerate of Food Safety (KCFS) which intends to repurpose used cooking oil to biodiesel has also been launched. According to KCFS, it has been found that several food businesses in the city have been reusing cooking oil which often poses a serious health threat to consumers.
“RUCO stresses on controlling such practices and protecting the people from health issues. As part of the initiative, we have identified about 15 FBOs in the city that use above 50 litres of cooking oil per day. These FBOs have been providing the records of the cooking oil used everyday and the method used to dispose of the used cooking oil,” said Alex K Isaac, assistant commissioner, food safety. “After the survey is over, we plan to take the necessary measures to stop the reuse of cooking oil in frying food in eateries and restaurants in the city,” he said.
The FBOs must maintain a record with details including the type of oil used, the quantity taken for frying, the quantity discarded at the end of the day, date and mode of disposal and the name of the agency that has collected the discarded oil.
The Food Safety Department has decided to implement a safe food policy. Recently, the department organised a workshop along with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) as part of celebrating World Food Day during which the officials highlighted the need to avoid the use of certain chemicals used in paracetamol and cough syrups.
The department also plans to organise a drive named ‘FISH’ in student hostels to check the quality of food served due to the increasing number of food poisoning cases in the hostels. “We have come across many incidents in which students fell sick due to the poor quality of food served at hostels. The drive will be held next month,” said Alex.