The Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) says a concentrated, three-pronged effort is needed to ensure implementation of the country’s new regulations on used cooking oil (UCO), effective from 1 July.
The new rules gave edible oils a maximum permissible limit of 25% of total polar compounds, hazardous chemicals that are formed in cooking oil during heating, reported The Hindu Business Line on 2 July.
FSSAI said all food business operators would be required by law to monitor their cooking oil quality, for which the agency had also established testing protocols.
The agency’s CEO Pawan Agarwal said effective implementation of the new UCO standards required the use of a “triple E” strategy.
“The first ‘E’ in the ‘Triple E Strategy’ is ‘Education’ – that is educating both the consumers and food businesses about public health consequences of spoiled UCO. The second ‘E’ is ‘Enforcement’, particularly among large food processing plants, restaurants and fast food joints that are frying food in large quantities. The third ‘E’ is developing an ‘Ecosystem’ for collecting UCO and producing biodiesel from it,” Agarwal said.
FSSAI was engaged in discussions with the Indian Biodiesel Association to establish a nationwide ecosystem for collecting UCO for biodiesel conversion, wrote The Hindu Business Line.
“Annually, about 23M tonnes of cooking oil is consumed in India. There is potential to recover and use about 3M tonnes of this for biodiesel production,” the agency said.
The food safety authority had also advised state food safety commissioners to focus on public awareness and education programmes, surveillance and enforcement activities.
Currently, UCO in India was either not discarded at all or disposed in an environmentally hazardous manner and could even find its way into reuse at smaller food establishments, according to The Hindu Business Line.