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French Cookware Maker Warns Customers Not to Cook with Olive Oil

However, some experts believe the chemical coating, usually Teflon, on Le Creuset's non-stick pots and pans is the real culprit.
Amsterdam, Netherlands
By Paolo DeAndreis
May. 3, 2022 19:39 UTC

A Le Creuset rep­re­sen­ta­tive sent Olive Oil Times the fol­low­ing state­ment after this arti­cle was pub­lished:

Le Creuset cook­ware is suit­able for use with many dif­fer­ent fats and oils, includ­ing olive oil and other plant-based oils, seed and veg­etable oils, ani­mal and dairy fats among oth­ers. Cooks should feel free to choose based on per­sonal pref­er­ence and tem­per­a­ture rec­om­men­da­tions. Proper use accord­ing to the smoke point of each oil will pro­long the per­for­mance of our cook­ware and we refer you to indi­vid­ual care and use guides on lecreuset.com for all of our mate­ri­als.

Le Creuset has answered a cus­tomer com­plaint by stat­ing that its fry­ing pans and woks should not be used to cook with olive oil because such use could shorten their dura­bil­ity.

More specif­i­cally, the French cook­ware pro­ducer has blamed olive oil’s smoke point for such dam­ages.

According to a report that first appeared in the Daily Mail and later in The Telegraph, Le Creuset warned its cus­tomers to avoid using olive oil” while rec­om­mend­ing oils with a higher smoke point like rape­seed oil, coconut oil and sun­flower oil.”

See Also:Healthy Compounds in EVOO Still Present After Exposure to Heat

Olive oil has a very low smoke point, and this can form a brown­ish film on the pan (burnt oil), cre­at­ing a bar­rier between the food and the pan,” the com­pany added. We would advise that every now and then, you rub cook­ing oil around the pan and leave it whilst it is not in use. This will help pre­serve the qual­ity of it.”

The Telegraph also reported that the pop­u­lar depart­ment store John Lewis urged its cus­tomers to avoid olive oil.

We advise cus­tomers that olive oil can car­bonize on ceramic pans, leav­ing a residue,” the store said.

According to The Telegraph, Smeg, an Italian kitchen­ware pro­ducer, said, it is rec­om­mended not to allow the [olive] oil to smoke or burn. Due to the enhanced non-stick prop­er­ties, food can be cooked and fried with­out the need for oil at all.”

You should never cook with olive oil,” Mark Greenaway, a chef, told The Telegraph. It should only ever be used in fin­ish­ing a dish. If you cook with it, the smoke point is so low it removes the Teflon [a brand name for the chem­i­cal, poly­te­tra­flu­o­roeth­yl­ene] from non-stick pans or burns’ tra­di­tional pans.”

If you need to rely on the taste of an oil in your food, you’re prob­a­bly doing some­thing wrong,” he added.

Cooking with olive oil plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in many estab­lished and inter­na­tion­ally-pop­u­lar cui­sine tra­di­tions at dif­fer­ent lat­i­tudes, espe­cially in large olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, includ­ing Spain, Italy and Greece.

While extra vir­gin olive oil is also widely used for fin­ish­ing dishes, it and other grades of olive oil have shaped the fla­vors and recipes of the Mediterranean diet for cen­turies.

While it is pos­si­ble to use extra vir­gin olive oil for bak­ing, sauteéing, grilling, dress­ing or mak­ing soups and stews, olive oil may also be used for fry­ing.

Recent stud­ies have shown that fry­ing with vir­gin olive oils will trans­fer some of the healthy qual­i­ties of the olive oils to the food, thus reduc­ing the unhealthy impact of fried food such as French fries.

Extra vir­gin olive oil smok­ing point is esti­mated between 180 °C and 210 °C, with higher qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oils report­ing higher thresh­olds. Only the high­est-heat cook­ing meth­ods will require tem­per­a­tures above these lim­its in a home kitchen.

The safety of the cooked food and the dura­bil­ity of the pans might there­fore be attrib­uted to the kitchen­ware’s char­ac­ter­is­tics. In such a con­text, the Teflon coat­ing might play a deci­sive role.

According to the Italian sci­en­tific mag­a­zine, MyPersonalTrainer, Teflon coat­ing is sub­ject to pyrol­y­sis, which induces ther­mo­chem­i­cal decom­po­si­tion when the poly­te­tra­flu­o­roeth­yl­ene exceeds 260 ºC.

At 350 °C, it is believed that Teflon under­goes a robust decom­po­si­tion releas­ing poten­tially toxic byprod­ucts.

This means that, given the eas­ily-spot­ted olive oil smoke point, cook­ing and fry­ing with olive oil in Teflon-coated pans will allow cooks to eas­ily respect the coat­ing of their pans and enhance the safety and fla­vors of their serv­ings, even more, when high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil is applied.


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