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|
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
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