July 10, 2018
Food regulator FSSAI said it is in discussion with the Indian Biodiesel Association for setting up of an ecosystem for the collection of used cooking oil and its conversion into bio-diesel. Small quantities of used cooking oil are already being collected from food businesses either through a barter arrangement or at cost, but there is a huge scope for expanding this ecosystem.
“Annually, about 23 million tonnes of cooking oil is consumed in India. There is potential to recover and use about 3 million tonnes of this for production of bio-diesel,” FSSAI said.
This will have an estimated value of Rs. 18,000 crore per year, it said and added used-cooking oil is viewed as the most reasonable and advisable feedstock for biodiesel production.
Bio-diesel is non-poisonous and biodegradable fuel with better burning emission profile and high flash point therefore easy to transport. “Thus, time is right for India now to take up large-scale bio-diesel production using used-cooking oil as feedstock through a coordinated effort.”
To ensure food safety, the FSSAI has notified norms effective from July 1 for food business operators to monitor the quality of oil during frying.
The FSSAI has prescribed a limit for Total Polar Compounds (TPC), which is a reliable benchmark for measuring the degradation of the oil, to be maximum 25 per cent beyond which the cooking oil is not suitable for use.
Currently, used-cooking oil is either not discarded at all or disposed of in an environmentally hazardous manner, thereby, choking drains and sewerage systems.
Commenting on this issue, FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said: “Effective implementation of used-cooking oil standards is a win-win for the public health, environment and the energy security.”
The State Food Safety Commissioners are being advised to take up awareness and education programmes, surveillance and enforcement activities in this regard, he said in a statement.
Use of cooking oil for repeated frying leads to the formation of TPC making it unfit for human consumption and can lead to many diseases, it added.