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Publication numberUS3682597 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 8, 1972
Filing dateDec 30, 1969
Priority dateDec 30, 1969
Publication numberUS 3682597 A, US 3682597A, US-A-3682597, US3682597 A, US3682597A
InventorsRobert L Husch
Original AssigneeInterstate Foods Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for testing fatty acids content in edible oils and protective shipper therefor
US 3682597 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

R. L. HUSCH AND PROTECTIVE SHIPPER THEREFOR Filed Dec. 30, 1969 Aug. 8, 1972 APPARATUS FOR TESTING FATTY ACIDS CONTENT IN EDIBLE OILS 4R .irELZHLirZ OOOOOOOC) INVENTOR ROBERT L. HUSCH A TTORNEI 'S United States Patent O US. Cl. 23259 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A pre-assembled disposable test, for testing for development of excessive fatty acids in cooking oil by observing the color change of a selected amount of a volatile and flammable test solution mixed with a selected sample of hot cooking oil, is provided by the combination of a sealed test vial of glass of predetermined capacity containing a predetermined amount of test solution leaving space for a pre-selected amount of hot cooking oil to be added to the level of a selected indicia defined on the vial. The glass vial conveniently provides for a gas tight seal before use, and safely accepts hot oil thereinto while conveniently permitting view of the color change. A protective shipper carton is defined by an inexpensive punched and folded cardboard blank.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a pre-assembled test device for testing for the presence of an undesirable fatty acid content in edible cooking oils. More particularly, the present invention relates to a simple and effective disposable test device for testing the fatty acid content of a cooking oil.

At the present time, one of the fastest growing industries in the United States is the drive-in restaurants or carry-out food type of business. There are many drive-in type of places established within the past few years which sell cooked foods such as French fried potatoes, fried chicken, and fried fish, etc. The convenience to the consumer of such foods is that they are relatively inexpensive, they are tasty, and they are quickly obtainable. These advantages have led to a phenomenal growth in the readyto-eat-foods business.

The increased volume of such business has created certain demands on the business. It must be constantly on the alert to be sure that the foods sold are of good quality since the digestive reaction and/ or health of many persons may be affected thereby. In the deep-fried-food business, there is now a need for testing the fatty acids content of the oil used to fry the foods to insure that the frying oid does not contain excessive amounts of fatty acids while at the same time the oil should not be discarded prematurely.

As is known, frying oil degrades both by prolonged heating and by contact with foods which contain moisture. Traditionally, in the take-out food business, the frying oil is changed on a time basis, i.e., after so many days following its initial use. However, with the increased volume of business, this is no longer a satisfactory or effective guide in determining Whether the oil should or should not be changed.

Some foods, such as French fried potatoes, absorb a relatively large amount of the cooking oil in which they are prepared, while other foods, such as fish, absorb a relatively small amount of the oil. Some foods also contain more moisture than others, a part of which moisture undoubtedly comes into contact with the oil.In addition, when the oil has been absorbed by the foods being fried,

make up oil is generally added to bring the volume of oil in the frying utensil back to a predetermined level. These factors in the operation of the fried-foods business cause uncertainties in the condition of the oil. The condition of the oil is also difficult to gauge by mere visual inspection.

One of the principal difficulties encountered in the estimation of the condition of the frying oil is the fatty acids content of the oil. When the oil is heated for a prolonged period of time and when the oil comes into contact with foods and moisture, the oil becomes hydrolyzed. As is well known, oils are esters of higher fatty acids and a trihydric alcohol, glycerol. Such esters are known as glycerides. Glycerides are subject to deterioration through contact with water or by thermal degradation. For example, the glycerides may be hydrolyzed to yield glycerol and free fatty acids or their salts. As is also well known, foods containing high fatty acids content are generally objectionable as being undesirable in the view of public health standards. Therefore, there is a need for a convenient and inexpensive test for the frying oil used by a restaurant to determine if the fatty acids content of the oil has reached an undesirably high level.

It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a convenient and inexpensive method and device for testing to determine if'the free fatty acids content of edible oils has reached a predetermined level.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a simple but effective disposable device for the testing of fatty acids content of frying oils.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a protective shipper for inexpensively and safely storing and transporting a plurality of such disposable devices for testing the free fatty acids content of cooking oils.

These and other objects of the invention can be gathered from the following description.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, I provide a disposable tester for testing the fatty acids content of hot frying oil which includes an inexpensive, disposable, transparent test vial which is dimensionally and optically stable at the temperature of the hot oil, a predetermined amount of a test solution in the test vial for testing the fatty acids content of the oil by color change, the test solution having a volatile and flammable constituent, an easily removable cap adapted for pressure-sealing engagement with the mouth of the test vial to provide a tight seal which safely confines the flammable and volatile test solution prior to its intended use, and a marking on the test vial indicating the amount of hot oil to be added to the test solution during the testing operation. As a further feature, an inexpensive cardboard shipper is provided for a plurality of the testers, such as to protect the testers from the danger of accidental damage to the vials which may cause the volatile and flammable constituent of the test solution to be exposed to flammable conditions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING AND OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The invention will now be further described in detail in connection with the drawing in which:

"FIG. 1 is an elevational view partly in cross-section showing a disposable tester constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a carton containing a spacing means for holding two dozen of the testers of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows the spacing means of the carton of FIG. 2 in perspective; and

FIG. 4 shows a processed cardboard blank from which the spacing means of FIG. 3 is formed.

Referring to FIG. 1, the disposable tester is generally shown at 10 to include a transparent vial 11 of a preselected capacity, a cap 12 in pressure-sealing engagement with the open edge, or mouth, of the vial, a test solution 13 occupying only a portion of the vial, and an indented shoulder 14 spaced below the mouth of the vial and defining an indicia to the level of which hot cooking oil is to be added to the solution 13.

On the inside of cap 12 there is provided a deformable seal disc 12a, of a type well known in the art, so that cap 12 may be screwed tightly against the mouth of vial 11 to prevent the escape of volatile constituents within vial 11 and also to prevent escape of liquid when the vial is shaken as per instructions for use. Vial 11 is only partially filled with a test solution 13. The test solution, for testing the fatty acid content of frying oils, contains a volatile and flammable constituent. The amount and strength of the test solution 13 may be varied, but the level shown is a typical one for a test. The vial 11 is provided with a convenient indica thereon, at a level spaced between the surface of solution 13 and the mouth of the vial, to indicate the level to which hot oil is to be added to the solution 13, but leaving an unfilled space 14a, in

the vial.

In the specific preferred form of the tester shown in FIG. 1, the indicia marking is selected to be coincident with the shoulder 14 of the vial 11, as that constriction provides a definite point that is easily noted, and leaves an empty space thereabove which aids in quickly effecting mixing of the vials contents by shaking.

The vial 11 is preferably of glass since such material is inexpensive and transparent and remains visually and dimensionally stable when contacted by hot oil, and provides a rigid mouth for insuring a good seal against a seal disc. On the other hand, inexpensive plastic materials cloud up or distort when subjected to hot oil.

The test solution 13 of the tester shown in FIG. 1 may be any of the known solutions that may be used to test for the fatty acids content of edible oils. For example, the test solutions may be those described in the American Oil Chemists Society (A.O.C.S.) Oflicial Method Ca a-40 (Revised 1963). I prefer to use an alcoholic solution of 0.025 N potassium hydroxide with phenolphthalien as the indicator. The alcohol may be ethyl alcohol or isopropanol.

As a specific example of a tester according to the invention, in a glass vial having a volume of 15 cc. up to its shoulder 14, 9.5 cc. of a test solution of 0.025 N potassrum hydroxide in isopropanol was introduced as test solution 13 to leave a volume of 5.5 cc. for the hot oil sample. The test solution is initially of a purplish-red color. When the hot oil sample is introduced into the up: per empty portion of the glass vial to the level of shoulder 14 and the cap 12 is re-allied, the oil sample then is thoroughly mixed with the test solution 13 by vigorous shaking for about 15 seconds. The color of the solution changes to yellow, brown or tan color if the free fatty acids content of the oil sample is about 1.3% by weight or more. 011 samples containing less free fatty acids than the said 1.3% by weight would leave the solution red or pink in color. It will be appreciated that although 1.3% fatty acids in the oil sample was used in this example as the point at WhlCh the oil should be changed, the present invention permits the testing for more or less acids by varying the strength and relative amount of the test solution.

As indicated above, the test solution, being an alcoholic solution, is volatile and flammable. The storage, packaging and shipment of the testers of the present invention, particularly when the vial is made of glass, must meet various governmental regulatory requirements. In this regard, I have prepared a shipper device specially suited for holding and protecting a plurality of testers 10.

The shipper is shown in FIG. 2 as including a cardboard box 15 with a mounting-spacer insert 16. The box 15 is of typical cardboard construction with a lid 17 having lock flaps 18 for entry into lock slots 19. The spacer in-' sert 16 is formed from the processed cardboard blank of laminated and corrugated cardboard shown in FIG. 4, and whose numbered sections are identified as including: an upper panel 20, a lower panel 21, a front vertical wall 22 that defines the spacing of the panels, a rear vertical wall 23, side walls 24 and 25, and flap portions 26, 27 and 29 that are attached to lower panel 21. The small dimension of rear wall 23 and side walls 24 and 25 is greater than the small dimension of flap portions 26 and 27 and of front wall 22. The flap portions 26 and 27 are folded inwardly of side walls 24 and 25, and flap 29 is folded inwardly of wall 23.

When the spacer insert is folded as in FIG. 3 for in-. sertion into box 15, a plurality of openings 28 of only about the same size as vial 11 are provided in the vertically spaced upper and lower panels 20 and 21. Because of the nature of the cardboard the sets of openings in the spaced panels are aligned but not precisely. The spacing of the panels 20 and 21 is less than the height of vial 11, so that a test device 10 when inserted into a pair of aligned openings is gripped by the edges of the openings and is held securely. The vertical height of walls 22, 24 and 25 is such as to engage the bottom of box 15 and to keep the testers 10 spaced from the said bottom of the box 15, thereby protecting the glass vials 11 from damage. The inward flaps 26, 27 and 29 by tending to spread outwardly operate to bias walls 24, 25 and 22 outwardly into frictional engagement with the adjacent upright side walls of box 15.

A shipper device as described above for shipping the glass vial testers containing alcoholic test solutions has received governmental approval for use in shipment in interstate commerce.

The combinations of the invention herein provide an economical way for testing the fatty acids content of frying oils. The testers may be stored, handled and transported without danger that the inflammable and volatile contents therein will escape due to breakage. The tester is easy and convenient to use, and no complicated procedure or training for its operator is necessary. In practically any kitchen, there is a long handled spoon or other devices for taking out a small sample of hot oil from a frying device. The hot oil sample may be fed directly into the relatively wide mouth of the vial shown in FIG. 1 herein and the person making the test need only add a volume of oil added up to the vials shoulder 14. The cap 12 is then tightly secured to the vial and the contents mixed by shaking, and its color observed. The whole testing procedure need not take more than a minute or two of time. In this manner, a quick and economical way for ascertaining the fatty acids content of the oil is provided.

The invention has been described in detail with reference to particular and preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be made within the spirit and scope of the invention as described hereinabove and as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a tester for testing for the fatty acids content of an oil using potassium hydroxide, a solvent and a phenolthalein indicator, the improvement of a disposable, singleuse tester particularly intended for testing for excess of free fatty acids in hot samples of edible oil which comprises, in combination: a transparent test vial which is di-y mensionally stable when contacted with said hot oil, said test vial having a rigid mouth permitting the introduction of hot oil into said vial; a predetermined amount of a premixed test solution in said test vial consisting of an alcoholic solution of potassium hydroxide with phenolthalein therein as an indicator and being of predetermined strength for testing the fatty acids content of a sample of hot oil by color change, the alcoholic content of said test solution being a volatile and flammable constituent therein; removable cap means for eifecting pressure-sealing engagement with the rigid mouth of the test vial to provide a tight seal that safely confines the flammable test solution prior to intended usage of said tester; and an indicia on the test vial indicating the amount of hot oil to be added to said predetermined amount of test solution.

2. A disposable tester according to claim 1 wherein said test vial is made of glass and said indicia is defined by a shoulder on said vial.

3. A disposable assemblage for safely providing pre-assembled disposable testers for testing the fatty acids content of hot samples of edible oil which comprises, in combination: a plurality of cylindrical glass test vials each shaped and arranged to contain a predetermined amount of a test solution of predetermined strength for testing the fatty acids content of a sample of hot oil by color change and having a volatile and flammable constituent therein, a removable cap means for each vial eifecting ,a pressuresealing engagement with the vials mouth to provide a tight seal that safety confines the flammable test solution prior to intended usage of said tester; and a shipping container for safely holding said vials against inadvertent breakage including an outer carton having walls defining the bottom, top and sides of the carton, and apertured spacing means within said carton for separating and fractionally holding said vials spaced from all the walls of the References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,375,843 5/1945 Gottlier 206-4519 2,990,056 6/1961 Gilliam 206-4519 X 3,072,362 1/1963 Allen 23-292 UX 3,165,200 1/1965 Hanson 206-4519 X 3,193,356 7/1965 Smith 23-230 R 3,272,319 9/1966 Brewer 206-12. 3,494,201 2/1970 Roach 23-292 X 3,510,260 5/ 1970 Krawetz 23-230 MORRIS O. WOLK, Primary Examiner R. E. SERWIN, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

23-230 R, M, 253 R; 206-45.19, 65A

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U.S. Classification422/408, D24/229, 436/60, 206/590, D30/161, 206/446, 206/485, 206/589, 422/430
International ClassificationG01N31/22, G01N33/03
Cooperative ClassificationG01N31/22, G01N33/03
European ClassificationG01N33/03, G01N31/22