Use the good oil


Eating high amounts of fat (especially saturated fat) is associated with heart disease and stroke.

High trans fat levels (as is found in partially hydrogenated oils) are associated with heart disease.

There are many things the fastfood operator or chef needs to consider when choosing frying oil for the deep fryer such as:

  • How well does it fry?
  • How long does it last before it needs to be discarded?
  • How much does it cost to buy?
  • Is it easily available?
  • How easy is it to handle?
  • What do consumers like?
  • Choosing frying oil that is better for customers’ health is now also important.


The high saturated fat in hot chips sold in independent fast food outlets reflects the high use of tallow-based frying mediums. Shifts in the New Zealand market for deep-frying mediums have occurred in the nine years between national surveys. There has been a move away from tallow-based products, 82% (reported in 1998 survey) to 61% (reported in 2007 survey), with an increase in both canola and palm-based products. Neither of these vegetable products is recommended by the Chip Group™.

Workshop Discussion

  • The discussions primarily centered around pricing and supply of oils. It was generally accepted that oil prices influence operator purchasing.
  • One possible solution would be the use of blended products. Prices for these would be between the lower prices of tallow and higher prices of new varieties of oils.
  • Although not legally required, the level of product information on frying mediums from major suppliers, in many instances, is excellent. However in other instances the labelling is very inadequate with a typical example being a product labelled simply as “vegetable oil” with no nutritional detail or country of origin.
  • The criteria for making health claims and nutrient claims (eg “cholesterol free”) is currently under review by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.


Use a frying oil that meets the Industry Standard:
Saturated fat – maximum 28%
Trans fat – maximum 1%
Linolenic acid – maximum 3%.

Suppliers will tell you which oils meet the Industry Standard. These may include high oleic sunflower oil, high-oleic low-linolenic canola, rice bran oil, cottonseed oil and some blends of various oils.