Unveiling the Truth: Is Dining at Small Restaurants in Shanghai Safe From Recycled Cooking Oil?

Shanghai, a bustling metropolis known for its rich culinary scene, is home to a myriad of small restaurants that offer a wide range of delectable dishes. However, concerns have been raised about the safety of dining at these establishments, particularly in relation to the use of “recycled cooking oil” or “gutter oil” (地沟油). This article aims to unveil the truth about this issue and provide insights into the safety of dining at small restaurants in Shanghai.

The Issue of Recycled Cooking Oil

Recycled cooking oil, also known as “gutter oil,” is a term used to describe used cooking oil that has been illegally collected from various sources such as restaurant fryers, grease traps, and even sewers, and then processed and resold. The use of gutter oil poses serious health risks as it often contains harmful substances and carcinogens.

Government Measures Against Gutter Oil

In recent years, the Chinese government has taken stringent measures to combat the gutter oil issue. These include stricter regulations, heavier penalties for offenders, and the implementation of a food safety law in 2015. The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration also conducts regular inspections and has a reporting system in place for consumers to report suspected use of gutter oil.

Is Dining at Small Restaurants in Shanghai Safe?

While the issue of gutter oil is a legitimate concern, it is important to note that not all small restaurants in Shanghai engage in this illegal practice. Many small restaurants take pride in their food quality and adhere to food safety regulations. Furthermore, with the government’s increased efforts to combat the gutter oil issue, the risk of encountering gutter oil in Shanghai’s restaurants has significantly decreased.

How to Ensure Food Safety When Dining Out

  • Choose restaurants that have a good reputation and positive reviews.

  • Look for restaurants that display their food safety inspection certificate.

  • Avoid eating at places where the cooking oil appears dark or murky, as this could be a sign of recycled oil.

  • If you suspect that a restaurant is using gutter oil, report it to the local food and drug administration.

In conclusion, while the issue of gutter oil is a serious concern, it does not mean that all small restaurants in Shanghai are unsafe. With the government’s stringent measures and the vigilance of consumers, the food safety situation in Shanghai has greatly improved. As always, it is important for consumers to be discerning and vigilant when choosing where to dine out.