Jump to content
  • Sign Up
0
CNV2855

There's No Such Thing As A "dedicated Fryer"!

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

There's no such thing as a dedicated fryer when it comes to avoiding cross contamination.

My family owns a restaurant, or rather a chain of restaurants, and I had eaten there several times post diagnosis and suffered reactions. The foods were fried with a batter consisting of nothing but corn flour, seasoning (salt, red/black pepper, garlic), pure peanut oil and placed in a dedicated fryer yet the reactions still kept happening, and I wasn't exactly sure why.

Then I watched a process called "filtering". A process that must be done, often several times a day depending on the volume of the restaurant, lest the oil become gritty and dirty.

They begin by taking a giant pan with a screen (filter) and placing it near the fryers. They then dump the cooking oil from all of the fryers down into this pan, which in the process filters the batter/food from the oil but also results in oil from multiple fryers being mixed together. After the oil from all of the fryers are collected, it is then redeposited back into the fryers.

Oil from one fryer will often be combined with oil from all of the other fryers in this process. While the screen does collect food particles, it's not fine enough to ensure that gluten is completely removed. The consequence of this practice is that oil that was used to cook gluten containing foods would then be unintentionally used to cook the foods in the fryer that is dedicated to fries or various other safe foods.

Also, while protocol is to fry foods in designated fryers often when an establishment is busy or the staff is overwhelmed, foods will be cooked where they fit. What I mean is that each commercial fryer often has dedicated "slots" for the baskets to be placed. Most fryers will hold two to four baskets each.

If all the slots for one fryer are filled, they will use fryers with vacancies instead of waiting for the primary fryer to clear up, which would result in a bottleneck. So if the fryer for fries is empty and they need more chicken wings, they will often throw the chicken into the open slot - even if that slot is intended to be used to fry different foods.

Seeing what I've seen and knowing what I know, I don't think there's any possibility for ensuring safe fried foods unless: the restaurant either fries no gluten containing foods or is stringent in ensuring that the oils are not mixed together in the process of filtering (I know of no restaurant that doesn't filter oil together).

I would strongly recommend against eating fried foods at restaurants or other public establishments. There's just no way you can ensure that the oil isn't contaminated.

Should I have posted this in the restaurant forums?

Edited by psawyer
Answer Should I? and move there

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that info. I do love hot chips, but find that most places dredge them in flour to stop them sticking, and to make them brown nicely. So even the places that don't use floured potatoe used mixed oils? I'll have to give them up. The highly processed vegetable oils (inflammatory high omega-6 fatty acids) are dangerous enough by themselves, but the thought of mixed, reheated oils is enough for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disturbing, but true.

Five Guys doesn't fry anything containing gluten, so we're safe there. :)

At my old job, we had a self-contained frying unit that looked like a giant metal box. It filtered its own oil internally. If a company really wanted to, they could purchase a fryer box and fry gluten-free items in there, avoiding the need for community filters, and leaving the 'open' fryers for everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ick, that is disturbing! I don't eat fried stuff in regular restaurants and I think I will continue not to do so (though five guys sound good!) My first glutening was contaminated frying oil and OMG I wanted to die.

That said, I don't have any problem with McDonald's fries. They are my go-to food when I'm out and about. I always double-check that they haven't been cooking anything else in them, but they always say no and I've never gotten sick. The child-staff are always knowledgeable about why I want to be sure they are using a dedicated fryer which I find slightly bizarre (I've had some mini-lectures about how of course they are careful because it's so important) but attribute to that age group - I know when I was 14 I thought I was way smarter than grownups too ;-) This is in Australia, but I've eaten McDonalds fries in DC and LA too, and was fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The CA burger chain "In-and -Out" only fries freshly sliced potatoes in their fryers. You add your own salt. The menu is burgers, fries, and drinks.

All eating out is risky. But some places are less risky than others.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info--very enlightening---but I have two questions, if you don't mind.

Just curious--can you tell us the name of the restaurant chain so we know it's not safe to eat even gluten-free fried foods there?? I mean, if they advertise they have dedicated fryers and then, do not adhere to that policy, then that's pretty important to divulge, don't you think?

Also, why would anyone allow such a practice ---knowing that people with celiac --like those in their own family---could be cross-contaminated????? :unsure:

I don't care how "busy" a place is--if they claim to have dedicated fryers, then the public is trusting that claim :unsure: ...I'm just sayin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are in fact restaurants that do not follow this practice. Just because one family's chain does it doesn't mean they all do.

richard

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the concern and I do believe it is real. I have gotten glutened by Chick-fil-a fries that are supposed to be made in a dedicated fryer. HOWEVER, it was my fault for not asking about the fryer and going during a busy time. I have sinced learned there are in fact many places (as mentioned by some pp above) where they fry nothing but fries. My favorites are Five Guys and Red Robin. I consider myself to be very sensitive but I have not gotten sick once eating fries at either of those places. You do have to ask every time you go in however because restaurant practices can change, new menu items can be introduced, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They begin by taking a giant pan with a screen (filter) and placing it near the fryers. They then dump the cooking oil from all of the fryers down into this pan, which in the process filters the batter/food from the oil but also results in oil from multiple fryers being mixed together. After the oil from all of the fryers are collected, it is then redeposited back into the fryers.

Oil from one fryer will often be combined with oil from all of the other fryers in this process. While the screen does collect food particles, it's not fine enough to ensure that gluten is completely removed. The consequence of this practice is that oil that was used to cook gluten containing foods would then be unintentionally used to cook the foods in the fryer that is dedicated to fries or various other safe foods.

I would think that anyone running a restaurant claiming to have a dedicated fryer would only have to deposit the combined oils into the gluten fryers and use fresh oil in the gluten-free fryer....making things safe for Celiacs. No one in their right mind would do what you have claimed and advertise their fryer as dedicated when people would become very sick from this practice....a lawsuit waiting to happen. Every restaurant which I have been to, and I admit that's not a whole lot overall, who claim a dedicated fryer that may have cc issues, makes that clear on the menu. They know there are some who have a wheat allergy only and can tolerate small amounts of wheat at a time so will go ahead and order food cooked this way. Or those Celiacs who don't care but I feel they are in the minority.

Your warning is a good lesson in what to ask and look for but it is a very general statement and not all restaurants are dumb enough to do this without warning people. If I can eat at some places and not become sick from the fried food with the level of sensitivity that I have, then I know that they follow good practices.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In-N-Out is deffinitely the place to go. Like is said, the only thing they fry is potatos. They have this crazy contraption that they put the peeled potatos in and push it through to make the fries. Burgers, fries and drinks :D , it's great food. The buns are even toasted in a seperate place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking perhaps that not every restaurant uses the same procedures....for example I'm going to try a local establishment called Wild Willy's in Worcester, MA. I haven't been yet but others have with no reaction whatsoever. From what I have researched, they even hired an experienced gluten-free consultant who helped them set up appropriately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0

×