Avoid repeated use of cooking oil for frying, cautions FSSAI

The practice of reheating cooking oil or using the same cooking oil for frying is common. Cooking oil is often repeatedly used by topping it up with fresh oil


Generally, big food businesses involved in the manufacturing of fried foods dispose of their used cooking oil (UCO) for industrial purposes (soap manufacture, etc.) but sometimes it finds way to small food vendors at cheap prices.

At household level or by road-side vendors, the UCO is discarded in an environmentally hazardous manner blocking the sewerage and drainage systems.

Therefore, in order to safeguard public health, FSSAI has notiied the limit of Total Polar compounds to be not more than 25% beyond which the oil is unsafe for human consumption.

Edible vegetable oils are used in frying of foods. During frying, the quality of oil deteriorates. Using the same oil repeatedly for frying leads to changes in the physico-chemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the oil. It also leads to the formation of Total Polar Compounds (TPC), which makes the oil, unit for human consumption beyond certain limits.

Reports have related these compounds to several diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease etc.

The purpose of this guidance 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 Businesses) Regulations, 2011.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Vijay Surase, a heart specialist from Thane, said, “When we use oil for deep frying at home, we tend to reuse that oil for other purposes such as for refrying other vegetables or fish. Housewives in many households tend to reuse that oil. This is an unsafe practice. This is how hydrocardons form.”

He added, “Obesity and diabetes are on a rise and using such oil further increases the problem. It also affects the kidneys. Therefore, it is advisable to not reuse this oil.”

Dr Pratiek Marakwad, “Reheating oil is a very unsafe cooking practice. Reheating oil causes them to develop polar compounds. This is harmful for the body. Doing this is not beneficial for our health. As the level of bad cholesterol rises in the body, it is advisable to refrain from reusing the oil for deep frying again. Instead, you can use it for cooking bhaji (vegetables) and curry as less oil is required. Although, reusing oil does not directly affect your health. It is advisable not to use it again and again.”

Akshada Barje, a housewife from Mumbai, said, “We do not eat junk food or vada pav from outside as they keep reusing the ol and it is quite unhygienic. But the oil that we use in our homes is clean and safe, We don’t feel that it is unsafe or wrong. We don’t want to waste the cooking oil. So we reuse it.”

Disposal of Used Cooking Oil (UCO) for households:

  • At household level, oil once used for frying foods should be filtered and may be used for curry preparation in order to make it economical. Avoid using the same oil for frying.
  • UCO should be disposed when blue-grey smoke appears or tough foam gets formed or oil becomes dark and murky or the consistency of oil changes. These are some of the indications of deteriorated quality of oil.
  • Used Cooking Oil should be consumed in a day or two. It should not be stored for longer times 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 small quantities of UCO, mix the oil with an absorbent material, such as sand or sawdust orused towel or paper towel or food scraps to avoid the chances of spillage and then throw it away in dustbins.

At present, following provisions in Schedule 4 Part V- specify the following:

  • Hygienic and sanitary Practices are to be followed by Food Business Operators engaged in catering/food service establishments.
  • Reuse of cooking oil should be avoided.
  • In case of reheating of oil, use maximum three times to avoid the formation of trans fat. It is ideal to use once, 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 Compound more than 25% shall not be used.