Abstract: Frozen par-fried French fries are finish-fried either by using the same type of oil used for par frying, or a different type. The nutritive quality of the final oil contained in the product depends on the relative amounts and the fatty acid (FA) composition of the oils used for par frying and finish frying. With the aim of understanding the provenance of the oil in the final product, par-fried French fries—either purchased ready or prepared in the laboratory—were finish fried in oils different from the ones used for par frying. The moisture content, oil content, and FA compositions of the par-fried and finish-fried products were experimentally determined, and the relative amounts of each of the oils present in the final product were calculated using the FAs as markers and undertaking a mass balance on each component FA. The results demonstrate that 89% to 93% of the total oil in the final product originates from the finish-frying step. The study also shows that a significant proportion of the oil absorbed during par frying is expelled from the product during finish frying. Further, the expulsion of par-frying oil was found to occur in the early stages of the finish-frying step. Experiments involving different combinations of par-frying and finish-frying oils showed that the relative proportions of the 2 oils did not depend on the individual fatty acid profiles. This study concludes that any positive health benefits of using an oil having a favorable FA profile for par frying, can potentially be lost, if the oil used for finish frying has a less favorable composition.
Practical Application: This paper estimates the relative amounts of oil in French fries that have been fried in 2 stages—a par-frying step and a finish-frying step—which is commonly practiced in food service establishments as well as homes. The 2 key conclusions are: (1) nearly 90% of the oil content of the final product is the one used for finish frying; that is, a processor may use very good oil for par frying but if the oil used for finish frying is inferior, its effect will dominate. (2) The paper also shows that a significant proportion of the oil used by the processor gets expelled during finish frying.