Canola oil is a popular kitchen staple for its taste, smoke point, and texture. But not everyone is inclined to buy it, why? There have been articles circulating across the web about its alleged negative effects on health, even claiming that it’s banned for use in Europe.
So why do people believe that canola oil is banned in Europe? – Today’s article will break down the facts behind this claim and canola oil’s overall impact on one’s health.
- Is Canola Oil Banned in The EU?
- Key Takeaways
- What Is Canola Oil?
- Is Canola Oil Really Banned In Europe?
- Canola Oil Is A Highly Refined Oil
- Canola Is Almost Always A GMO
- Taking Too Much Canola Oil Can Disrupt Fatty Acid Ratio
- Canola Oil Can Trigger Inflammation & Oxidative Stress
- Canola Can Affect Thyroid Health
- Canola Oil Can Affect Brain Health
Is Canola Oil Banned in The EU?
Canola Oil, a type of rapeseed oil bred for low erucic acid levels, is widely used in European cuisines and industries.
The EU imposes stringent regulations and quality control measures on all food products, including Canola Oil, ensuring their safety, healthiness, and quality. This includes specific standards regarding Canola Oil’s composition, labeling, and a maximum limit of 5% erucic acid for edible oils and fats.
- Canola oil is a seed/vegetable oil made from crushed canola seeds. It was first developed in Canada from traditional rapeseed in the 1970s.
- Canola oil is one of the most commonly-used cooking oils because of its light flavor, high smoke point, and smooth texture. It’s also rich in good fats and less in saturated fats.
- Contrary to the rumors circulating online, canola oil is not prohibited in Europe and is considered safe for consumption there.
- The European Union is one of the leading producers of canola in the world.
- Canola oil is more commonly known as rapeseed oil in European countries.
- Since many European countries have imposed restrictions on GMOs, canola oil manufacturers must source from non-GM canola.
What Is Canola Oil?
Canola oil is oil made from crushed canola seeds, therefore classifying it as a seed oil. It was first developed in Canada from traditional rapeseed and is obtained from the oilseeds of swede rape, turnip rape, and Indian mustard.
Because of its light flavor, high smoke point, and smooth texture, canola oil is one of the most commonly-used cooking oils. This oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and contains phytosterols, which reduce cholesterol absorption in the body and even improve glycemic control as it contains a low glycemic index (GI).
Canola oil is commonly used in
The oil is also used In salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. Others use it to coat pans for nonstick baking. Compared to other popular oils commonly used in the U.S., it has lesser saturated fat.
Aside from culinary purposes, canola oil is sometimes added as an ingredient in skin and hair care products.
Is Canola Oil Really Banned In Europe?
The question buzzing on everyone’s mind is, is canola oil banned in Europe? – No. This claim is false and has since been debunked. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has evaluated the safety of canola oil and deemed it safe for consumption.
The rumor about the prohibition of canola oil in Europe had been circulating the internet as early as 2018. The premise was that the European Union (EU) considered canola oil to be “toxic” and “carcinogenic, that it was high in some fatty acids not safe for consumption, and that the monounsaturated fats found in the oil can be dangerous for the human body.
Various sources attribute the rumor to its erucic acid content. Erucic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid present in canola oil, and high levels could lead to conditions like respiratory problems or even blindness. Thankfully, the erucic acid present in canola oil is far below the FDA’s danger levels.
Others claim the rumor is true because of its absence in certain supermarkets in places like the United Kingdom, but this is owed to the fact that canola oil is sometimes called rapeseed oil.
However, there is some truth to the rumor, but not for the properties of canola oil as a whole. Some canola oil brands use genetically modified crops (GMOs). GMOs are banned in several European countries.
Regardless, the EFSA has already deemed canola oil safe for consumption and even recommends canola oil as a substitute for other commonly-used oils and fats due to its health benefits.
Canola Oil in Europe – Restrictions & Regulations
Despite the popular rumor, canola oil is still very much in use in European countries and has always been ever since it was first introduced there. In fact, the European Union is one of the top 5 producers in harvesting and producing canola along with Canada, India, China, and Australia.
One might be surprised at not seeing the word “canola oil” in some European markets. That’s because Europeans opted to call canola “rapeseed” and the oil “rapeseed oil”, maintaining the original term it had when it was first introduced there.
The primary difference at present is that European farmers and manufacturers are prohibited by EU law from growing or using genetically modified canola (or any GMO product for that matter), so Europeans must manufacture canola oil from non-GM plants exclusively.
However, the EU has recently approved the use of some genetically modified canola seeds for processing.
Canola Oil & European Cuisine
Compared to olive oils (and even butter), canola oil is lesser used in European cuisine for various reasons. Olive oil, in particular, has been used in European cuisine for centuries and is already a staple in European cuisine and history. On the other hand, canola oil is a more recent importation and is still gradually gaining its momentum.
In terms of flavor, canola oil has a neutral flavor which may explain its still limited reception. Olive oil, on the other hand, has a herbal and peppery taste with spicy and pungent tones which suits the tastes of Europeans more.
Health Implications of Canola Oil
All its health and cooking benefits aside, consuming too much canola oil can sometimes have negative effects on one’s health.
Canola Oil Is A Highly Refined Oil
For one thing, canola oil is a highly refined oil. The oil refinement process uses heat and chemicals to extract the oil, which can significantly reduce the amount of nutrients it offers. On the environmental side, oil refineries are a major pollutant, consuming large amounts of energy and water, heavily polluting bodies of water and the atmosphere, and producing solid waste that’s difficult to dispose of.
Canola Is Almost Always A GMO
The majority of the canola grown in Canada and the United States is already genetically modified to be herbicide-tolerant. While many regulators consider GMO products to be safe, their environmental impact, public health, crop quality, and food safety are still being debated.
Taking Too Much Canola Oil Can Disrupt Fatty Acid Ratio
Canola oil is particularly rich in omega-6 fatty acids and it can increase the ratio of omega-6 in your diet that that of omega-3. Various studies show that a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 can contribute to excess inflammation in the body, potentially raising the risk of various health problems like obesity and conditions like cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
Canola Oil Can Trigger Inflammation & Oxidative Stress
Several animal studies attribute canola oil to increased inflammation and oxidative stress, given its high level of linolenic acid (C18:3).
Canola Can Affect Thyroid Health
Canola has goitrogenic compounds, which interfere with thyroid hormone production and promote thyroid tissue growth, which then results in the development of goiter.
Canola Oil Can Affect Brain Health
A 2017 study reveals that long-term consumption of canola oil is unlikely to offer any benefits for brain health and may affect memory and learning abilities. Its potential inflammatory properties can also negatively impact cognitive functions.
Canola Oil Regulation and Quality Control in Europe
Food safety is a key issue in European legislation. Manufacturers must comply with requirements and standards to receive authorization to market their products in Europe.
There are various certifications that canola oil products must meet:
- Food safety – All food products, such as vegetable oils, produced and marketed in Europe must comply with their General Food Law.
- Erucic acid content – The EU has imposed a maximum level of erucic acid in vegetable oil to ensure that it does not exceed the safety limit.
- Extraction solvents – The EU prohibits the use of certain extraction solvents.
- Genetically-modified organisms – GMOs are generally frowned upon and prohibited in many European countries due to concerns about food safety and environmental impact. However, there may be a few exceptions.
- Labeling – The EU has imposed labeling legislation to ensure that product labels be transparent to consumers about the product’s composition, manufacturer, storage methods, and preparation of the vegetable oil.
- Allergens – The EU’s standards on product ingredients and allergens likewise ensure transparency.
- Health claims – The EU’s nutrition register ensures that the product’s health claims are backed by scientific evidence.
- Organic certification – The EU’s organic certification ensures the product’s organicness and quality.
- Fair Trade – FLO-Cert is the EU’s leading standard-setting and certification organization for Fairtrade.
Canola oil is a popular vegetable oil noted for being low in saturated fats and heart-healthy properties. Contrary to popular belief, the oil is not, nor was it ever banned in Europe, and is slowly becoming a staple in many European kitchens.
Articles may have claims that may be unreliable and could spread misinformation online, so it’s always important to be critical and fact-check their information and cross-reference credible sources to establish accurate facts and correct public perception.