The Problem We Didn’t Know Needed to be Solved – Fryer Oil


I started my blog here on Whatutalkingboutwillis to help people make their lives a little more manageable. My mission is to help other Moms solve everyday problems! Over the years, I have found that one of the most common problems families need help with is keeping up with health news and information. There is always something new to watch out for! It can feel hard to keep up. So I’ve made it a point to investigate the issues that really feel worth sharing. I recently stumbled across a problem I didn’t even know needed solving: fryer oil.

I came across the fryer oil problem by total accident. I was actually just researching fried food in general. I love fried food (especially fried chicken!) and I was curious about how unhealthy it really was. I found out a few things that made me happy while researching. The process of frying food itself isn’t inherently unhealthy! It’s actually a safe, efficient way of cooking food evenly. It does contain a lot of fat, but the oil used and the method of frying can really make a difference. Most of the extra calories actually come from tons of breading and batter added, not from the fact that it’s fried.

But, while I was reading online about the frying process, I stumbled upon a website that talked about the differences in restaurant kitchen regulations in the U.S. and in Europe. You know me…three hours later and I found myself down an internet black hole. It turns out we have a major problem here in the U.S. and our government and the FDA are turning a blind eye.

Here is the short version: In Europe, there are many regulations in place that specify how restaurants can use frying oil to cook in order to keep people safe. This is because the process of charring meats can lead to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals. These chemicals are known as HCAs and PAHs. I know what you’re thinking… “But we’re frying the food, not charring it!” Apparently, fryers that aren’t used properly can create the same problem. If a restaurant doesn’t filter or test their oil, it can reach toxic levels without them knowing it! This happens when very small pieces of food break off and float in the oil, becoming re-charred each time the fryer is used. The kicker is that these cancer causing bits of char are easily preventable with regular changes of the oil. I don’t understand why that wouldn’t be mandatory in any kitchen, no matter where you are in the world!

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I’m appalled that the FDA doesn’t seem to care about this. People all over America are eating fried food that could be covered in carcinogens. This is a PROBLEM that needs to be solved.

I would imagine that a lot of restaurant owners don’t even know about this. I’m sure not filtering or changing their oil regularly isn’t malicious! But it doesn’t make it acceptable. Restaurants need to take action to solve this. We need to have more regulations in place, like in Europe. Fryer oil should be changed often, and testing needs to be done. Ask your local restaurants to research safe oil changing practices and take action! I love my fried food, but I won’t be eating it out until I hear kitchens are making changes.

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