Health experts have emphasized the importance of steering clear of cooking oils containing harmful substances such as glycidyl esters (GE) and 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol esters (3-MCPD). These contaminants pose a significant challenge globally, affecting both the food industry and oil refineries worldwide.

During the process of industrial refining, GE and 3-MCPD can develop in edible oils when they are exposed to high temperatures to eliminate undesirable tastes, colors, or odors. While refined palm oil and palm olein oil typically have the highest concentrations, other refined vegetable oils (such as safflower, coconut, sunflower, rice bran oil, soybean oil, etc.) and refined marine oils (like fish oils) also contain these contaminants.

When these oils are used in various cooking methods like deep frying, baking, grilling, or roasting, some of these undesirable chemical compounds naturally migrate into the food, increasing health risks, according to health experts.

As cancer cases continue to rise in India, experts urge health officials to set limits similar to those in Europe. Numerous animal studies have shown that regular consumption of GE and 3-MCPD above tolerable limits can have adverse effects on kidneys and male reproductive organs.

Dr. Rahul Bhargava, Principal Director of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, emphasized the urgent need to address carcinogenic contaminants like GE and 3-MCPD in cooking oils. According to a report by IANS, he said, "With increasing incidences of cancer in the country, there is an urgent need

to address carcinogenic contaminants like GE and 3-MCPD in cooking oils. As these contaminants present in oil can cause cancer in the long term."

"With the increasing incidence of cancer in India and the widespread use of cooking oils, government bodies concerned and FSSAI should also take steps to bring these regulations in our country. Display compliance with GE and 3-MCPD limits on labels is crucial for empowering consumers to make healthier and safer choices for cooking oils,” Dr. Rahul Bhargava added.

Further, Dr. Sushila Kataria, Director of Internal Medicine at Medanta, Gurugram, highlighted the severe health risks associated with GE and 3-MCPD contaminants in cooking oils, including kidney damage and various cancers. She emphasized the importance of government authorities in India regulating and minimizing these contaminants in cooking oil to safeguard public health.

“It's vital to highlight the alarming health risks posed by GE and 3-MCPD contaminants in cooking oils. Exposure to GE and 3-MCPD is linked to severe health issues, including kidney damage and various cancers. Government authorities in India should also make regulations to control and minimise these contaminants in cooking oil. For good health, choosing cooking oils that are compliant with EU safety regulations of 3 MCPD & GE is important," she said.

While India has made progress in controlling trans fats, there has been limited action in formulating guidelines for GE and 3-MCPD. Experts emphasize the need for India to align with EFSA guidelines on these contaminants to ensure safer cooking oil consumption.
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