Food And Oil Quality Interactions

A broad model describing all the qualities of frying oils and foods prepared in these oils is a continuum of frying oil degradation changes that could be associated with fried food qualities. Five stages of frying oil degradation are identified.

Figure 1 suggests that all frying oils behave similarly in the frying environment and that their bulk effects change slowly, even though the minor products of degradation may have a strong relationship to consumer acceptance of foods. Furthermore, each oil degradation stage can have different associated analytical values depending on the food being cooked. For instance, the degraded oil stage end points for potato chips, breaded vegetables, and fast food are found at 13%, 17%, and 25% total polar materials (TPM) content, respectively.

Within narrow windows, these TPM chemical index values seem relatively invariant across the food industry and are closely linked with the heating history of the oils. However, specific chemical markers used as process measurement end point specification values such as percentage of free fatty acids (FFAs) and other relatively minor degradation products vary with the mix of foods being fried. The percentage of FFAs end point values for the degraded stage are 0.5%, 2.0%, and 5.0%, respectively, for snack food, processed meat food, and fast-food industry segments. A generalized table for fast foods is shown in Table 1.

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