Steer clear of cooking oils contaminated with carcinogens

The health experts stated that some of these unwanted chemical compounds will naturally migrate into the food when these oils are employed in different cooking techniques.

On Sunday, medical professionals emphasised the importance of avoiding the use of cooking oils contaminated with carcinogens, such as 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol esters (3-MCPD) and glycidyl esters (GE).

Reducing the amounts of GE and 3-MCPD in vegetable oils is a major global concern that affects oil refiners and the food business globally.

When edible oils are exposed to high temperatures during the industrial refining process, GE and 3-MCPD may form in an effort to remove unwanted tastes, colours, or odours.

These pollutants can also be found in other refined vegetable oils (such as safflower, coconut, sunflower, rice bran oil, soybean oil, etc.) and refined marine oils (such as fish oils), even though the largest quantities are usually seen in refined palm oil and palm olein oil.

The health experts stated that some of these unwanted chemical compounds will naturally migrate into the food when these oils are employed in different cooking techniques such deep frying, baking, grilling, and roasting.

While cancer cases are on the rise in India, the experts urged health officials to impose restrictions similar to those in Europe.

Numerous investigations on animals have shown that regular ingestion of GE and 3-MCPD over tolerated limits causes kidney and male reproductive organ damage.

“Cacinogenic pollutants like GE and 3-MCPD in cooking oils need to be addressed immediately due to the rising cancer incidence in the nation. Dr. Rahul Bhargava, Principal Director of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS that certain pollutants found in oil have the potential to cause cancer over time.

Given the rising number of cancer cases in India and the country’s extensive usage of cooking oils, the relevant government agencies and the FSSAI ought to move to implement these laws here. It is imperative that labels adhere to GE and 3-MCPD limitations in order to enable consumers to make safer and healthier decisions when it comes to cooking oils, the speaker continued.

The possible dangers of GE and 3-MCPD were assessed in 2016 by the expert panel on contaminants of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA came to the conclusion that GE is a health risk to the public because of its genotoxic and carcinogenic qualities, which can damage DNA and cause cancer.

As a result, processing pollutants in vegetable oils were deemed acceptable at amounts that may be consumed by humans.

Emphasising the grave health concerns that cooking oil pollutants 3-MCPD and GE cause is essential. Kidney impairment and a number of malignancies are among the worst health problems associated with exposure to GE and 3-MCPD. Regulations should be made by Indian government agencies to minimise and manage these pollutants in cooking oil. Selecting cooking oils that adhere to EU safety criteria of 3 MCPD & GE is crucial for maintaining excellent health, Dr. Sushila Kataria, Director of Internal Medicine, Medanta, Gurugram, told IANS.

Although India has made progress in reducing its intake of trans fats, not much has been done to develop standards for GE and 3-MCPD. The experts stated that India needs to follow the EFSA recommendations regarding these pollutants.

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