Frequently Asked Questions about Canola Oil

We answer frequently asked questions, and give you facts about canola oil.

Q. What Is Canola Oil?
A. Canola Oil is a refined edible oil crushed from the seeds of the yellow Canola flower.The Canola flower belongs to the same family of plants (Brassica) as mustard, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and turnip.

Q. What Does ‘Canola’ Stand For?
A. ‘Canola’ is an acronym for ‘Canada Oil Low Acid’, a reference to where it was discovered (Canada) and its low Erucic Acid content.

Q. Is Canola The Same As Corn Oil?
A: No. Canola has nothing to do with Corn Oil or ‘Cornola’, which is an Indian brand of Corn Oil.

Q: Is Canola Oil The Same As Rapeseed Oil?
A: No. While Canola and rapeseed look the same on the outside, they are very different on the inside where it matters. In the late 1960s, plant scientists in the Prarie fields of Western Canada used traditional plant breeding methods to get rid of rapeseed’s undesirable qualities. In fact, there is a strict internationally regulated definition of Canola that differentiates it from rapeseed, based upon it having less than 2 percent
erucic acid and less than 30 umoles glucosinolates. Rapeseed contains Erucic Acid, as does Mustard, which belongs to the same family of plants.

Q. Why Is Erucic Acid Harmful?
A. Erucic Acid has been correlated with health disorders like accumulation of triglycerides in the heart, development of fibrotic lesions of the heart, increase in risk of lung cancer, anaemia, constipation and respiratory distress. Mustard oil is banned for edible consumption in the EU, USA and Canada principally due to its Erucic Acid content. The USFDA requires all mustard oil to be labeled “For External Use Only”.

Q. Why Is Canola Oil Good For Indian Food?
A. Canola is a light oil with neutral aroma and flavor. Since it has no distinctive taste or smell of its own, it enhances the original flavors of Indian food. It can be used for all types, methods and varieties of Indian cooking: frying, roasting or grilling. Canola also has one of the highest smoking points (242 degrees C) amongst all oils, making it ideal for high-heat cooking and deep-frying, which is common for Indian food.

Q. Is Canola Oil Widely Used?
A. Canola Oil is the fastest-growing edible oil in the world! In Canada, over 50% of the vegetable oil consumed is Canola. Japan’s usage rate is over 50% and Mexico’s is 25%. In the US and Australia, Canola is already the second most preferred oil.

Q. Are Good Brands Of Canola Oil Easily Available In India?
A. Hudson Canola Oil is now widely available in leading retailers across the country and on several online shopping sites. Entirely bottled in and imported from Canada, Hudson is produced according to the highest quality standards. Unlike some brands of Canola Oil that are imported in bulk and packed in India, Hudson conforms to strict international regulations. Hudson packaging is of high quality and its oil is always a pure yellow colour. Hudson is owned by one of India’s oldest and most trusted business houses. It is an easy choice if you are looking for a high quality brand of Canola Oil in India.

Q. Is Canola Oil A Solvent-Extracted Refined Oil?
A. Yes, all seed oils including sunflower, safflower, corn and soya are chemically extracted from seeds with the help of the solvent Hexane and then refined.

Q: Have Human Studies Been Conducted On The Consumption Of Canola Oil?
A: Yes. Clinical studies conducted over the past 20 years involving thousands of healthy volunteers have examined the role of Canola Oil in lowering blood cholesterol levels and reducing risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. The studies confirmed that when used as part of a balanced diet, Canola Oil has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and have a beneficial effect on clot formation, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Canola Oil contains just 7% saturated fat compared to, for example, 12% in sunflower oil, 19% in peanut oil, 22% in rice bran oil and 68% in ghee.

In addition to countless global studies, a recent study by the Diabetes Foundation (India) comparing Canola Oil with ordinary refined oils used by Indians demonstrated significant reductions in triglycerides, cholesterol, body mass index, waist circumference, fasting glucose level, fasting insulin level, liver fat and much more through the use of Canola Oil.

Q: Is Canola Oil Safe For Animals And Humans?
A: Yes. Before being approved for food use, Canola Oil was required to go through stringent animal feeding trials to ensure it was a safe edible oil. And a great deal of research has been done which shows the benefits of incorporating Canola Oil into human diets.

Q: Was Canola Developed Using Genetic Engineering?
A: No. Canola was developed using traditional plant breeding techniques, so it was not developed using biotechnology. Subsequently, Canola was modified using biotechnology to make it tolerant to some herbicides and, today, about 80% of the Canola grown in Canada is of this variety. Remember – the Canola plant has been modified, not the oil.

So Canola Oil from the herbicide-tolerant plant is exactly the same safe and healthy oil as Canola Oil from conventional plants. The modification has been made to only one Canola gene and it is a protein. Processing (refining) removes all proteins from Canola Oil, a well-accepted fact that has been confirmed even by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. That means Canola Oil made from GM seed is conventional Canola Oil. This process is commonly used in edible oils like soybean as well.

Q: Can Canola Oil And Rapeseed Be Used As Lubricants, Penetrating Oils, Fuel, Soap, Paints, Etc?
A: Yes. Any plant sourced oil such as olive, corn, soybean and flax can be used industrially to make lubricants, oils, fuel, soaps, paints, plastics, cosmetics or inks. In fact, any organic hydrocarbon (including ALL vegetable oils) can be processed and denatured to make industrial chemicals.

Q: Is Mustard Gas Made From Canola Oil?
A: No. Mustard gas is an oily volatile liquid that got its name from its mustard-like odour. It bears no relation to Canola, or any other plant member of the mustard family.

Q: What Is The Shelf Life Of Canola Oil?
A: Canola Oil’s shelf life stored at room temperature is two years. Except for flaxseed oil, the shelf life of other vegetable oils stored at room temperature is similar. Flaxseed oil should be stored in the refrigerator.

Q: Is Canola Oil Linked To Mad Cow Disease?
A: No. There is no connection between BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and Canola Oil.

Q: Can Canola Kill Insects Such As Aphids?
A: Yes. Pour any cooking oil – Canola, olive, corn, sunflower, safflower, mustard or peanut – over an insect and you’ll suffocate it. Vegetable oils in general are recommended by many horticulturists as a non-chemical, more environmentally-friendly insect control method.

Q: Does Canola Contain Cyanide?
A: No, Canola does not contain cyanide. Canola contains compounds that sound a little like that – isothiocyanates, compounds found naturally in many foods, especially in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale,turnips and Canola. Isothiocyanates are sulphur-containing compounds that have anti-cancer properties, a fact first recognized some 30 years ago. The cancer-fighting properties of cabbage, cauliflower and the other members of the mustard family are likely due to their isothiocyanate content.

Q: Is It True That Europe Has Banned Canola Oil Since 1991?
A: No. The European Union (EU) countries together produce more Canola than Canada.Europeans call their Canola “oilseed rape” and the oil “low erucic acid rapeseed oil” (LEAR) but it is Canola. They chose not to adopt the new name “Canola” when it was developed. So Europeans consume Canola Oil every day and have ever since Canola was introduced in Europe shortly after being developed in Canada. The difference at present is that European farmers are prevented by law from growing genetically modified Canola (or any GM crop). Europeans therefore consume Canola Oil from non-GM plants.

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