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A gutter-oil test kit for home use

By Bai Tiantian (Global Times)

09:04, September 27, 2012

Consumers will soon be able to buy a kit that can detect gutter oil which is often collected from the sewers near restaurants and mixed with cooking oil sold in supermarkets, said its inventors from China Agricultural University (CAU).

Huang Kunlun, director of the food safety detection center at the CAU, told the Global Times that the kit is up to 80 percent accurate and is the result of three years of research.

"Compared to other detection methods on the market, ours does not require professional equipment and is able to generate a result at home in about 30 minutes," said Huang.

The kit contains four different vials in which consumers can add some of their store-bought oil, boil it for five minutes and compare its color to the provided chart. If the color of the test sample is darker than the color on the chart, there is an 80 percent chance that it contains gutter oil, said Huang.

The test can detect animal fat and the acidity in the sample oil.

Huang said gutter oil comes from many sources and has a complicated composition, which is why the kit comes with four test vials.

The kit is expected to be sold next year.

"We hope our research can help bring more people, both government officials and customers, into this campaign to fight gutter oil," said Huang.

Li Li, an environmental activist who is a strong advocate of safe kitchen waste recycling, told the Global Times that although she welcomes such consumer detection kits, solving the problem of the illegal use of gutter oil requires more effort from government and law enforcement.

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