Foodservice and restaurant operators are in the business of selling food. And fried foods – whether it’s French fries, chicken, pies, or even cheese – are among the most popular menu items in these operations.
It’s imperative that foodservice and restaurant operators do whatever they can to maintain the quality of these foods, especially in today’s world where a bad experience can be shared with hundreds and thousands of social media users. A bad report on Yelp or Twitter can severely damage a business’ reputation.
What operators must understand is that there is a direct relationship between the quality of the oil used to fry the food and the quality of food being fried. This relationship first came to light in Germany in the early 1970s. There were a number of complaints from consumers that consumption of fried foods had resulted in gastrointestinal distress. Epidemiological investigations were unable to establish any direct links between the complaints and the food quality, but did indicate that operators were abusing their cooking oil.
Research over the past forty to fifty years has further supported the relationship between food and oil quality. Foods fried in damaged or abused oils may not be unsafe, but the food can certainly be compromised. They may be excessively greasy or oily (more calories); it may be dark; coatings may not adhere properly; or, the food may have distinct off notes in flavor.
Frying in damaged oils may shorten life under heat lamps, compromise shelf life of processed foods, or in the case of pre-fried foods, the damaged oil absorbed by the food may leach into a fryer during finished frying and actually shorten the useable life of that oil.
The photograph below shows how cooking French fries in progressively degrading oils will damage quality. This is why maintaining oil quality using an oil treatment product such as Filtercorp’sSuperSorb® is so important.