A. Introduction to Cooking Oils
Frying is one of the easiest and most popular ways of cooking as it produces exceptional flavor, moisture and crunch. It delivers the GBD or golden, brown and delicious, food characteristic, or the ultimately desired food quality. Cooking oil, the basic requirement for the process, has increasing demand in the market.
Time identified olive oil as the healthiest cooking oil. Extra virgin olive oil contains a large amount of monounsaturated fats and some polyunsaturated fatty acids; studies linking it to better heart health.
It is best for low and medium-heat cooking because of its relatively low smoke point compared to other cooking oils.
Based from global statistics, palm oil is the most used cooking oil. It is estimated that 90% of produced palm oil is used for food consumption and the remaining 10% is for industrial consumption, including fuel and cosmetics. According to Harvard nutrition experts, palm oil is better than hightrans fat shortenings. Palm oil is better than butter but the first choice should be vegetable oils such as olive oil and canola oil that are naturally liquid at room temperature.
Next to palm oil use is soybean oil. The second mostly used cooking oil worldwide. Soybean oil is helpful for diets lacking the essential omega-6 fatty acid or commonly known as linoleic acid. In fact soybean oil is about 50 perfect linoleic acid.
Philippines, being the one of the top producers of coconut oil, next to Indonesia, consumes coconut oil the most compared to other cooking oils. Philippines produces 153,532,000 tons from the one quarter total land farm dedicated to coconut production according to World Atlas.
Coconut oil, as cited by Lal & Indira (2003) states that it is an ideal ingredient in the food industry since it possesses desirable properties such as a low melting point, resistance to rancidity, pleasant flavor, and easy digestibility.
Furthermore, Lal & Indira (2003) added that the highly resistant nature of coconut oil to oxidative rancidity is attributed to its high concentration of saturated fat and low unsaturated fatty acids. This quality makes it suitable for storage without deterioration.
Coconut oil is not only effective in cooking. A study conducted by Morales, Mua?a (2016) identified cooking oils potential blood glucose lowering activity. It was stated that, Glibenclamide as positive control was most effective in lowering the blood glucose level of hyperglycemic-induced rabbits, followed by formulated emulsion, marketed coconut oil and lastly by the placebo. Coconut oil was proven to be effective in lowering blood glucose next to the control which is the glibenclamide.
Different types of cooking oils are used both in business facilities and households but the commonly used worldwide is palm oil. Cooking oil is widely used in the Philippines since the country is one of the top producers of coconut globally. Varieties of cooking oils have different properties and when it comes to health benefits, olive oil is the most preferred by experts.
B. Street foods
Establishing street food stalls is common to developing countries. In the Philippines, street foods are highly consumed due to cheaper prices without examining standards when it comes to sanitation and hygiene.
Street food solves major social and economic problems in developing countries since it provides ready-made meals at cheap prices and employment for the urban and rural population. But due to the informal nature of the business, the activities are not regulated. The results are the activities that pose to the health and safety of the consumers (Alimi, 2016).
Street food is usually sold in areas near busy streets and vending of such food serves as means of sustaining livelihood for a large part of the informal sector (Canini et al, 2015).
Street foods continue to be popularly consumed in developing countries including the Philippines. Most vendors of these food items reuse cooking oil several times in food preparation in order to cut down cost of fried foods and save money invested on cooking oil (Goswani et al., 2015).
Consumption of fried foods made in road side eateries, food outlets in markets and restaurants is quite common in India and in most Asian countries. The socioeconomic status of a person tells their food intake pattern. In India, people from the low income group usually buy fried foods in roadside stalls. The practice of repeated heating of cooking oils between the temperatures of 160-190°C over a long period of time makes the oil undergo thermal oxidation, hydrolysis, and polymerization, significant changes of fatty acid and also quickens the formation of oxidized and polymerized lipid species in the oil. Reusing oils multiple times drastically changes its physical appearance: from the viscosity, the darkening and the cloudiness of the medium, the foaming and decrease in smoke point. All of these changes are harmful for human consumption.
A descriptive study was conducted in Nairobi, Kenya to determine street food vendors’ sanitary and hygienic practices. Results were evaluated from in depth interviews and observations. Data were collected from 80 street food vendors selling foods commonly consumed. Information from the study shows that vendors lacked training on food preparation. About 62% obtained food preparation skills through observation while 33% were taught by their parents in non-formal settings. The preparation surfaces used for the preparation of raw foods were not washed regularly. Cooked foods were stored at ambient temperature in cupboards, plastic bowls, jugs and buckets were just left in the open uncovered (Muinde & Kuria, 2005).
Street foods stalls location are beside sidewalks and roads. The location is not fit for selling foods. Moreover, oil reuse is also a serious concern. Most individuals prefer eating street foods even with doubtful safety conditions, mainly because of cheaper prices and unique taste.