Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation initiates food safety drive

On 6th August, an Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) team visited a diner in the Danapith area of the walled city, who are makers of traditional Gujarati snacks.

Officials there were ready with a equipment to measure total polar compounds (TPCs) in the oil used. Within seconds, the reading on the device showed a value of 80 percent at 147 degrees celsius.

A senior AMC health officer in the food safety division explained that deep frying in oils usually leads to oxidative and hydrolytic reactions and the development of decomposition items. Increased consumption of these, called polar compounds, heightens the chances of heart problems and gastrointestinal issues.

Section 8 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, says: “TPC in unused or fresh vegetable oil or fat shall not be more than 15%. Used vegetable oil or fat having developed TPCs more than 25% shall not be used.”

He further says that the moisture in the food, high temperatures and oxygen in the atmosphere when frying modify the composition of the oil, which releases free fatty acids, polymeric triglycerides and diglycerides. These compounds are known as total polar compounds (TPCs). TPCs grow with the degree of unsaturation of the oil.

AMC officials said the campaign against the use of high-TPC oils will be tackled. In a separate inspection drive between 23rd July and 5th August, the AMC proclaimed that the food samples were unsafe, destroying 145kg of food, 67 litres of oils and extracts which were being used as raw material in food preparations.

The AMC took 103 new food samples, especially from shops selling traditional snacks, bakery items, milk preparations, and cereal preparations. The AMC health officer said, “Some of these samples on inspection appeared to be substandard. We have to conduct week-long bacteriological tests to reach a conclusion”.

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