India is the world second consumer of vegetable oiland per capita consumption is about 19-19.80 kg per person per year.
India consumes a diverse range of cooking oils including palm oil sunflower oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, mustard oiletc
However, the way Indians use cooking oil has not been ideal.
It is not uncommon for households and businesses to reuse cooking oilsometimes without knowing the health risks.
Consumption of used cooking oil (UCO), which is the leftover oil from frying, has been found to cause several serious health issues including cancer, heart disease, and organ damage.
60% reused cooking oil
A new study has found that around 60% of the used cooking oil generated in India ends up in the food stream.
The study, considered the first of its kind in India, conducted by the Observer Research FoundationKoan Advisory Group and Neste, found that despite food safety regulations prohibiting the consumption of UCO in any form, more than half of it is reused.
The study surveyed 505 food business operators (101 large and 406 small) in four metropolitan areas of India: Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
Reuse of cooking oil in cities
The survey results indicate that the reuse of UCOs by commercial food business operators is pervasive, especially among small establishments and street vendors in New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai who use UCOs to the last drop. .
Additionally, awareness and compliance with food safety regulations on HCU reuse among businesses is low, exposing consumers to increasing risks of disease and poor health outcomes.
Among the cities surveyed, compliance with food safety regulations among businesses was highest in Chennaithrough increased awareness, collaboration between local government and private sector organizations, and the development of appropriate infrastructure for waste storage and disposal.
“This survey gives us a clear picture of the challenge currently facing the regulation of used cooking oil used in the market. Government, civil society and the private sector should work together to decide what is needed to address, for example, the public health challenges of diverting used cooking oil to human consumption,” said Steven Bartholomeusz, public affairs manager for the Asia-Pacific region at Neste in a statement.
How to end the reuse of cooking oil
The report indicates that there is a need to strengthen collaboration between government authorities responsible for food safety, networks of doctors, nutritionists and experts and private sector organizations in order to create a regulatory and policy framework that encourages responsible behavior change and consumer awareness.
Furthermore, it suggests actionable contributions for different stakeholders to create pathways that connect efforts to build a safe and secure food environment with the principles of a sustainable circular economy.
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