O.T. on potato chips and donuts (NOT board designs...the "foods")

Don’t want to start a flame war on diet; this should be pretty non-controversial. Just an interesting “science” note on post surf snacks…from Mercola.com

After speaking with potato chip manufacturers, I would like to comment on potato chips, and I hope this is a working email for you.

My company is researching the production of biodiesel from used vegetable oil, and has contacted manufacturers which we suspected would produce the most waste oil. What comes to mind? Well, greasy potato chips (just look at your fingers after you eat them!) and donuts came to mind, after contacting the obvious home-run hitters, McDonald’s and KFC.

Contrary to what you might think, it seems the worst abusers of vegetable oils were not McDonald’s, but potato chip and donut manufacturers.

One manufacturer replied to my offer to purchase their used oil with the explanation that they hardly have any used oil left-over after the process. Tens of thousands of gallons come in, barely hundreds come out.

The reason? This manufacturer recycles the oil until it is entirely absorbed by the food. All that dirty oil eventually ends up in the potato chips themselves.

One problem that occurs after re-using vegetable oils is that FFA’s (free fatty acids) concentrate. The manufacturer volunteered this fact and noted that their solution is to chemically treat the oil to reduce the FFA’s, after which it is sent back to produce more potato chips. Mmmm – re-used vegetable oil treated with chemicals to reduce free fatty acids!

It turns out that these oils are so bad that biodiesel manufacturers shun them! In other words, they are difficult to catalyze into methyl-esters (biodiesel) and producers are reluctant to use them for engine fuel, yet people still eat the potato chips!

That brings us to the last time I ate a donut, those nicely-colored sweet confections. If you only saw the waste products. My offer to pick up one donut shop’s used oil for free was met by much enthusiasm by the management, and they told me that I could pick up a 55-gallon drum once every 6 months.

Did you ever go inside the donut shop and look at how much oil they have in those vats? Now consider that they only dispose of 55 gallons every 6 months! They would have given me more if they had it because I offered to pick it up for free, while they have to pay a renderer over $ 200 / month for disposal.

One closed-down shop asked me to pick up their barrel of used vegetable oil from their parking lot because it was leaking and causing ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE. I tried to drain the oil out, but it was so thick and sludgy that it clogged my pump. I was considering using a heavy-duty sewage pump to drain it, but decided not to, because the thick, smelly contents of that barrel were not usable as an ingredient for fuel, and refining it would be too expensive.

The material had an uncanny resemblance to sewage. The only reason I knew it wasn’t, was that it had a sweet, donut-like smell to it, but entirely unpleasant.

Scientific facts like knowing the carcinogen content of these “foods” is interesting, but if you want real motivation to avoid junk foods, go to the back of the “restaurant” were they dispose of their environmentally-harmful by-product and take a look. Also, you can ask them why they have to keep the stuff in barrels and wait for an expensive disposal service instead of just sending it down the drain?

The reason: the Environmental Protection Agency does not allow it?

The utility companies know that one of the reasons that raw sewage leaks out of the sewers and into our public water supply is that restaurants still illegally dump their used oil down their sinks, causing build-up and clogs to occur. I saw a picture of the clog once – it looked like a blocked artery.

Go ahead, have another potato chip – you are doing our environment a favor by “disposing” of that garbage with your own internal garbage disposal system. Your sink’s garbage disposal system will wear out every five years and can be replaced for about $80, but how will you replace your stomach, liver and kidneys and arteries?"


Dennis Meizys

Maryland Green Power Co.

Howzit DrStrange, Being an ex restaurant owner who used cooking oil for frying tortilla chips I can say as the oil gets older it also changes the flavor of the foods fried it it. We used to change our oil every 2-3 days due to this factor because we could taste the difference between new oil and the used oil. Seems to me that those companies are not that concerned about the quality of their products.Aloha,Kokua

Mercola scares his living out of his subscribers as a nutritional bomb thrower. What about all the small “boutique” potato chip companies (see examples below) with low volume, high quality product? He doesnt want to talk about them. As consumers we need to make INTELLIGENT choices.




Personally I prefer Kettle blue corn chips myself. The world is a scary place. Mercola is just doing his part to keep the paranoia rolling. Me, I’m so paranoid I can hardly bring myself to eat at times…or drink water…or even breathe.

Years ago, read a piece in Wall St Journal about food mfg. They mentioned an “anonymous” big chip maker who told them that they had spent many months and bags of money figuring out how to keep the oil from getting a “rancid” taste and passing that on to the chips. Market tests then taught them that consumers preferred the “rancid” taste by a large margin. There was a similar anecdote about scorching the tomatoes in making catsup. Punch line was an orange flavored breafast drink CEO took the family to Florida on vactiona and the kids were repulsed by fresh squeezed and wanted “real” o.j. like they had at home.

Worked in Taco Bell once upon a time. We changed the oil about once a week I think. Or 5,000miles whichever came first.

Joseph Mercola’s website does have some good stuff. Investigate and evaluate…“let the buyer beware”… that’s what being an intelligent consumer is all about :slight_smile:

The information regarding potato chips isn’t scary unless one is addicted to chips. . . if you abstain from chips then there is no fear.

Being scared of doing without crisps is ROFL material, just give them up !

It is impossible to make non toxic potato chips. . . some are more toxic than others but the best vegetable oils available become toxic as soon as they are heated to chip frying temperatures, so it’s a no win from the start. . . . also potatoes are mildly toxic anyway !

My ancestors did very well indeed without potato crisps and I have discovered that there is life after giving up the potato crisp . . . for example boiled Kumara !

Those companies you have linked to are doing a good job of marketing and no doubt they are sincere, however the fact that their chips might be a few grades less diabolical than the norm does not make them healthy