Austria fears for its Wiener Schnitzel after EU-proposal for healthier frying

Last week the European Commission announced it wants to reduce the presence of acrylamide in food. This carcinogenic substance forms automatically during high temperature processing, such as frying and baking. Exactly how the traditional Wiener Schnitzels are made…

Once implemented, the new regulation will require that food business operators apply mandatory measures to reduce the presence of acrylamide. One of these measures concerns the frying temperature: maximum 175 degrees celcius.

dsc_2121-1024x1820‘No Frittenpolizei!’

Now, the Austrians fear for their Wiener Schnitzel. Often fried in a thick layer of superhot fat in a normal frying pan, the traditional dish could be stuffed with carcinogenic substances. But according to Andrä Rupprechter, the Austrian Minister of Agriculture, the ‘Frittenpolizei’ is a ‘unnecessary bureaucratic monster of the EU’ that he will ‘resist with all his strength’.

Will the real Austria please stand up?

Lucky for him, the proposal still has to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament. The two institutions will have three months to examine it before final adoption by the Commission. But since his own country voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal, it’s uncertain if Rupprechter will succeed in his war against healthier schnitzels. Will the real Austria please stand up?

About acrylamide

Acrylamide is a substance that forms from amino acids and sugars in foods during high temperature processing, such as frying, roasting and baking. This happens particularly in potato-based products (like fries, chips and baked potatoes), in cereal-based products (like the bread crumbs on the Wiener Schnitzel) and coffee and coffee substitutes. In 2015 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) investigated the substance and discovered that it can cause cancer in mice and rats. Little is known about the effect on people. But based on the animal tests, EFSA concludes that also people are at greater risk of getting cancer if they often eat foods that are relatively rich in acrylamide.

How to avoid it

Since so many foods contain acrylamide, it is almost impossible nót to eat (or drink) it.  According to The Netherlands Nutrition Centre, the best way to avoid the substance, is to have a varied diet and to stay away from fried foods. If you do have a crave for home made fries: set the temperature of your deep fryer at 175 degrees celcius max. Otherwise, keep an eye on the colour: the darker your fries or Wiener Schnitzel, the more acrylamide it contains. The same goes for coffee: espresso contains more of the substance than filter coffee. Since coffee also has some proven health benefits, the current advice is to drink maximum 4 cups of filter coffee or maximum 2-3 espresso a day.

bak friet goudgeel en niet te bruin

Source | Heute

‘Immer wieder’ the same song in Austria

Now that the presidential election must be held again, the battle between ‘green’ candidate Alexander van der Bellen and his right wing opponent Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) continues. The Freedom party likes to do this the traditional Austrian way: with lots of beer, schlager music and lederhosen.

I was walking in the Prater this Tuesday evening, when live music drew my attention. Turned out the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) was throwing a big party in the ‘Almhütte’ Prater-Alm. After passing through a modest security, I could sing along with patriotic hymns like ‘Immer wieder Österreich‘ and (having just missed Hofer’s speech) listen to chairman Heinz-Christian Strache speak about rising crime rates (caused by mainly ‘foreigners’), growing unemployment and burka’s (a ‘fabric prison for women’).

Singing alongLederhosen on high heelsAustrian romance





Strache further called the presidential election an ‘international blamage’. The result of the election in May was annulled because of procedural flaws and this week the re-vote had to be postponed because the glue on the envelops used for postal voting won’t stick too well. Instead of 2 October, as originally planned, the new election will now be held 4 December. According to the president of the federation of Austrian municipalities, ‘Klebergate’ will cost municipalities at least three million euros extra, making them ‘stinksauer’ (meaning ‘mad as hell’), he said in an interview with the Austrian Press Agency (APA).

Strache: ‘Reform the system’

The FPÖ-frontman thinks the current voting system should be reformed. “Of course this will make leading politicians nervous,” he claimed on stage. “Why? Because then elections cannot be manipulated that easily anymore.”

About the presidential election

In May this year Norbert Hofer narrowly lost the presidential election against Alexander van der Bellen. The FPÖ then claimed to have detected formal irregularities in the vote counting and demanded a re-vote. In July the Freedom party got what it wanted: Austria’s highest court annulled the result of the election and ordered a re-run. Although the court’s president explicitly stated that there was no reason to suspect so, the FPÖ still claims that the outcome might have been manipulated.
 According to the latest vote polls, Hofer is ahead of Van der Bellen.


Ignored damage control

In a city where you can eat Kuchen and Käsekrainers just about everywhere, the Viennese have an old fashioned solution to prevent your appetite from getting out of hand.

You would think they are outdated, but don’t be surprised to spot several classic scales in Vienna’s city center. They are mostly located at bus- and tram stops, where people probably don’t have anything better to do than to wait or weigh. Since you’ll often find a Würstelstand at these locations, you can also enjoy a Käsekrainer or Waldviertler, and immediately check the damage afterwards.

But no matter how big and shiny, most people don’t seem to notice the lonely machines.

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P.S. to God

In Viennese churches you’ll often find a book lying on a little table, in which you can write your gratitude and prayers. Most people pray for the health of their loved ones and ask for God’s guidance in difficult times. Others pray for an independent Scotland.

The idea of the ‘wishbook’ is that other people can read your prayers, so that they can pray for you. I don’t know if it actually works this way, but while reading them, I did feel somewhat connected with the authors. We all have our fears, worries and doubts in life, and almost everybody can relate to the woman who wrote the ‘PS: lass diese Frau aus seinem Leben verschwinden’ (‘let this woman disappear from his life’).

If not, you might want to pray for an independent Scotland when Britain votes for a Brexit tomorrow.

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Goosebumps at Heldenplatz

Yesterday, on May 8th, Austria celebrated it’s liberation from the Nazi regime. At the same location where Hitler announced the Anschluss in 1938, the Wiener Symphoniker gave a concert under a bright, starry sky.

Although it is the fourth year that the Fest der Freude (‘Festival of Joy’) is celebrated with the famous Viennese orchestra, for me, it was actually the first time that I heard the Wiener Symphoniker playing live.

I don’t know what gave me more goosebumps, though: Beethoven’s Eroica, the majestic Heldenplatz and Hofburg, or the fact that it was here, that hundreds of thousands Viennese inhabitants welcomed Hitler with open arms more than seventy years ago.

Warm welcome in Vienna

I’m back! Yesterday evening I arrived in beautiful Vienna once again and it felt like coming home. My roommate Alex and I got along immediately and his roommate Andi, who rents me the room, even left me a nice present.

Steirisches Kürbiskernöl is said to be great with vanilla ice.



Graffiti as it’s supposed to

Being the biggest graffiti-zone in town, the Donaukanal in Vienna has a totaly different look and feel than the spotless inner city. I love to walk alongside the canal, where graffiti-artists are allowed to experiment freely.

The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Whereas the inner city is supertidy, the shores of the Donaukanal are covered with graffiti, decorated with dented trash cans and floating garbage. But in this case, the Viennese don’t mind. Cause here, it’s supposed to look that way.

However, that didn’t stop a 30-year old vandal with a lack of creativity from tagging his name all over town. He ruined some great pieces of (graffiti-) art by doing so. It took the police a few months to arrest him and nowadays you see his tag everywhere you go. This July ‘Puber’ was sentenced to fourteen months imprisonment. Hardest challenge for the public prosecutor was to prove the scribblings were actually his.

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‘Streetslaughter’ in Vienna: 1700 cops vs 19 squatters

Even in a city where everybody patiently waits for the traffic light to turn green before crossing the streets (while no car in sight), there’s trouble now and then. In those cases, police troops do the job.

So it costs a million euro, and the free newspaper Österreich calls it ‘one of the biggest streetslaughters in the history of Vienna'; but hey, at least they got the message.

Monday a group of nineteen squatters were kicked out of a building they lived in for the last two years. Initially they were invited by the landlord himself, who wanted to chase away the last occupants, some eldery people who refused to move out of the building he wanted to renovate and sell for a large sum of money. He thought the squatters might do the trick. Unfortunately for him, they chose sides with the eldery people.

To make a long story short, yesterday all nineteen ‘punkers’ were evicted from the building, with the help of 1700 policemen, a policehelicopter, an armoured car and a watercanon.


With special thanks to my fellow student Jordan, with whom I had lunch today at the Filmfestival at Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)