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Guangzhou to crack down on ‘gutter oil’ use

Posted: 09/15/2011 3:03 pm

If anything is an acquired taste, it’s the 2-3 million tons of oil that gets ‘recycled’ and reused in restaurants in China. Fortunately, it looks as though the days of ‘gutter oil’ are nearly over, at least in the larger cities where consumer anger has been growing for several years.

Following the much-hyped arrest of 32 cooking oil siphoneers this week, now Guangzhou is taking several steps to see some results at home.

These include setting up a committee between the provincial government’s food safety commission and the Guangdong Public Security Bureau which will start by offering cash money to anyone who reports sales or the collection of gutter oil intended for further use. Greater fines have also been proposed and published to benefit from public feedback, which the city government is accepting beginning today through to next Thursday. The current proposal entails a fine of between RMB 10,000-50,000 for any restaurant or venue serving food caught selling any gutter oil for less than RMB 10,000. Establishments found selling more than RMB 10,000 worth of their kitchen oil will be issued an automatic fine worth ten times however much they stood to profit, and “serious” infractions will result in businesses being shut down. Apparently, Guangzhou’s Liwan district government is also currently testing some sort of networked oil smoke surveillance system in the kitchens of 466 restaurants in the old part of the city.


Also, ‘gutter oil’ (地沟油) will be given a clarified legal definition, such as how many times oil can be heated and let to cool before it can be considered waste, or regulating how much and which sorts of processing are allowed to be done of oil between the point at which it leaves the grill and enters a floor-level drainage system—at which point it becomes government property, so to speak. There has even been some mention of making it easier for restaurant owners to have their oil dealt with through official channels, another part of the overall problem.

Which sort of combined approach do you think will work best, and is it more effective to tackle the gutter oil trade in phases or in one dramatic nationwide crackdown? Share your thoughts in the comments, as well as any nasty photos from PRD restaurant kitchens you happen to have lying around.


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