Food chain served notice for reusing 16-day-old oil
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government health department has served a notice to food chain McDonald’s after routine checks earlier this month revealed three of its outlets in Jaipur were reusing oil over 16 days old.
The health department served a notice to the Panch Batti-based McDonald’s franchisee, Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd, on Monday directing it to improve its products in accordance with the Food Safety Act within a fortnight. The department officials had conducted an inspection at the McDonald’s on June 17.
The notice said, "According to the records (oil quality evaluation form) at your restaurant during the month of June, heated vat of vegetable oil was continuously used from June 1 to June 16 and there is an ‘OK’ remark given by quality evaluator manager and crew."
It is universally acknowledged by experts on the subject that reuse of oil is extremely harmful for health.
Rajasthan Cancer Foundation chief and former surgical oncologist, Dr Rakesh Gupta said, "Deep frying of oils, especially vegetable oils, produces large amount of cancer-causing substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons andacrylamide. At higher temperature, these are present in larger amount. In addition, the toxic aldehydes produced also lead to a higher occurrence, not only of cancers, but heart disease, dementia, malformations during pregnancy."
Asked for its reaction, a McDonald spokesman told TOI, "An important aspect to understand is that there are no standards defined in India for oil-in-use. Yet, at McDonald’s, we follow standards and processes that ensure consistent quality and safe food is sold across all our restaurants."
He added, "McDonald’s in India has a robust oil management system developed and used worldwide by the corporation in 130 countries over the past 60 years. These processes are best in class and ensure the oil-in-use is checked every day and meets all the applicable standards."
Rajasthan health authorities said that if edible oil is completely oxidised due to continuous heating, it become unsafe for human consumption.
"We have collected the sample of both fresh oil and oil from heated vat and sent to laboratories to find out how much unsafe was it for human consumption," an official Dr Sharma said adding that if the samples fail, the matter will be send to court.
Officials said that when they inspected the Panch Batti-situated McDonald’s, they allegedly found that the palmolein oil had turned black due to continuous heating. "It is heated at 360 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day. When it is reduced due to heating, they top up the oil to fill the heated vat. They have not changed the oil completely for 16 days," an official said, who inspected the restaurant.