The Effective Management of Unhealthy Fat Waste in South Africa: A Case Study

By Lodewyk Kock.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In South Africa, fried food can be considered a major item in the diet of many people. Consequently, this has resulted in large quantities of frying fats being consumed. Extensive surveys by us since 1994 showed that large quantities of fat are heated repeatedly over extended periods by frying establishments resulting in these fats to become harmful. These practices are mainly aimed at saving costs eventually at the expense of the consumer since overused fats may cause diseases such as diarrhea, cancer, etc. when consumed. We found that about 1 in 8 frying establishments in South Africa are overusing their fats. Of concern is that many of these unhealthy fat wastes are distributed to the poor for further use. These statistics are based on surveys and thousands of used fat samples drawn from frying establishments and analysed by us. Consequently, we decided to launch an extensive national awareness campaign addressing this issue. This include the presentation of >80 workshops aimed at environmental health officials and fat manufacturers/distributors, >100 national press releases and >100 national broadcasts over radio and TV mainly aimed at the consumer. These activities resulted in the publication of strict regulations, which now makes it a criminal offence to use edible fats that have been overused. Unfortunately the outcomes of these activities were disappointing and malpractices persist. To obtain sustainable control over these malpractices, we implemented the Steward's Principle. Here, fat manufacturers/distributors are responsible for their products from manufacturing to eventual discard from frying establishments as waste. This resulted in a significant decrease in fat overuse at establishments serviced by these companies. The next phase will be to apply this model to the rest of the fat manufacturers/distributors in South Africa. This practice may be used as a blueprint for other developing countries with similar waste management problems.

Keywords: Fat Waste Management, Overused Unhealthy Fat, A Solution for South Africa

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.177-186. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 662.578KB).

Prof. Lodewyk Kock

Outstanding Professor and Head: South African Fryer Oil Initiative, Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

Lodewyk Kock (Ph.D.) is since 1982 in the service of the University of the Free State (UFS). He published 147 articles in scientific journals of repute, six chapters in scientific books and seven patents. He acted as referee for accredited scientific journals and served on the organizing committee of various international and national conferences. 110 Press releases in national newspapers were written on his research while he presented 87 workshops on fats across South Africa. He was involved in 122 interviews on national radio, television as well as Voice of America and Reuters TV and presented 65 seminars at international conferences – many on invitation. He co-organized international symposia on oxidized oils held in Berlin, 2000 & 2006. 29 M.Sc. en 23 Ph.D. students completed their studies under his supervision. He was appointed as Director: Industrial Biotechnology UNESCO MIRCEN since 1998 and Head: The South African Fryer Oil Initiative since 1994. He was appointed Outstanding Professor of the UFS since 1998 and received the President’s Award for outstanding research from the National Research Foundation. His research is successfully applied to the edible fat industry and is currently rated by the NRF in the top bracket of the category: Internationally Acclaimed Researcher.

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