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Perhaps it is due to confusion surrounding silicone, but what studies exist that document the safety and best practices of using silicone oil? I understand it is used for as an anti-foaming agent in deep-frying, and also has medicinal purposes (as an anti-flatulant); but in a high temperature evironment, does it remain inert and safe?

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I don't have a definitive answer for you, but Waffle House fries their food on the flattop grill with a product called Flavor Fry. I can't find the ingredients online, but I know it contains either Silicone or Silicone Oil (can't recall which) from having read the label many many years ago. –  Jacob G Jan 6 '12 at 2:26
Just curious, what is your reason to want to use silicone oil over say regular veg oil in a deep fryer? Or it is just a general curiousity of how silicone oil holds up in high temperature. –  Jay Jan 6 '12 at 17:03

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Not much is out there.

Food-grade silicone oil (dimethylpolysiloxane, for the chemists out there) is routinely used in medical and food-prep devices, and it has been approved by the US FDA Office of Food Additive Safety for use as a direct additive in diverse foods, like milk, dry gelatin dessert mix, canned pineapple juice, and even salt. Of course, we're talking about minuscule amounts, in the range of 100 ppm; at high concentrations, it is a skin and eye irritant. So what level is safe? We can't assume that the FDA ever tested it, as the Office of Food Additive Safety is woefully underfunded.

An informal literature search yielded me only a handful of scientific articles looking at silicone oil in frying. The most promising was by Bertrand Matthaus, Norbert Haase, and Klaus Vossman, "Factors affecting the concentration of acrylamide during deep fat frying of potatoes," Eur. J. Of Lipid Sci. & Tech., V.106(11), pp. 793-801 (Nov 2004) (fig. 3 specifically measures acrylamide concentration as a function of the amount of silicone oil). Unfortunately, I don't have a subscription, so I can't tell what the bottom line was.

Myself, I don't see the benefit of using it at home.

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