Is Canola Oil Banned in Europe?

While it’s true that rapeseed oil (Canola Oil) has historical uses in lubricating ships and steam engines in World war I and II, it is now found on grocery food store shelves nationwide in America.

Is Canola Oil Banned in Europe?

Although canola oil isn’t outright banned in Europe, it’s subject to scrutiny over potential adverse effects on both human health and the environment. The European Food Safety Authority has established strict regulations regarding the erucic acid levels permissible in canola oil. Additionally, there are worries surrounding the formation of trans fats during the oil’s processing, further contributing to the concerns surrounding its usage.

Canola oil has long been a staple in many kitchens worldwide, prized for its neutral flavor and purported health benefits. However, its reputation has come under scrutiny in recent years, particularly in Europe, where concerns over its safety have led to restrictions and even bans in some countries. But why exactly is canola oil facing such scrutiny across the Atlantic?

A Harvard Doctor, Dr Guy Crosy did research that shows that Canola oil has 1.9-3.6% of Trans fat content, where olive oils are at 0.5%. Which is way less.

The hashtag #canolaoil boasts over 33,000 posts on Instagram and has garnered more than 47 million views on TikTok. With its newfound fame comes a pressing question: Why is canola oil banned in Europe?

Influencers and everyday individuals alike have drawn attention to canola oil, with some going so far as to liken it to motor oil and attributing its supposed ban in Europe to health concerns. But does canola oil truly deserve its negative reputation? Is it time to bid farewell to canola oil to safeguard our health? What exactly is the issue with canola oil? Keep reading to uncover the truth!

What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil, the third most widely produced vegetable oil globally, sits behind palm and soybean oils in terms of production volume. Derived from rapeseed, a yellow flowering plant belonging to the cabbage and mustard (brassicaceae) family, canola oil has a fascinating origin story.

It was first developed in Canada in 1974 with the intention of creating a versatile oil suitable for various culinary uses such as baking, stir-frying, and deep-frying. However, the rapeseed used initially yielded oil with high levels of erucic acid, which can be harmful in large quantities. To address this issue, innovative Canadian chemists embarked on a crossbreeding endeavor, aiming to produce a safer variant of rapeseed oil.

Their efforts resulted in a new strain dubbed “canola,” a clever play on words combining “Canadian” and “oil.” Through a series of breeding techniques, they successfully reduced the erucic acid content in rapeseed, paving the way for the creation of canola oil as we know it today. The process of obtaining canola oil involves heating the seeds, followed by crushing and processing, similar to the methods used for corn, sunflower, and soybeans, ultimately yielding the familiar golden liquid enjoyed in kitchens worldwide.

Is canola oil and vegetable oil the same?

While both fall under the umbrella term of “vegetable oil,” they are distinct entities. Canola oil is just one variety within the diverse category of vegetable oils. However, in the U.S. market, consumers often encounter both vegetable oil and canola oil on store shelves, which can cause confusion.

  1. Genetic Modification Concerns: One of the primary reasons for Europe’s cautious approach to canola oil lies in its genetic modification. While genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are more widely accepted in certain regions, Europe has taken a more precautionary stance, with strict regulations in place regarding GMO crops. Canola oil, primarily derived from genetically modified rapeseed, has thus faced resistance in European markets.
  2. Trans Fat Content: Another point of contention surrounding canola oil is its trans fat content. While canola oil is touted for its low levels of saturated fat, some studies have raised concerns about the formation of trans fats during the processing of canola oil. Trans fats are widely recognized as detrimental to health, linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
  3. Environmental Impact: Beyond health considerations, the production of canola oil has raised environmental concerns. Intensive farming practices associated with canola cultivation, such as monocropping and heavy pesticide use, have raised questions about sustainability and ecological impact. In Europe, where environmental sustainability is a top priority, such concerns have contributed to the skepticism surrounding canola oil.
  4. Alternative Options: In light of these concerns, many European consumers and food manufacturers have sought out alternative oils deemed safer and more environmentally friendly. Oils such as olive, sunflower, and coconut have gained popularity as healthier alternatives to canola oil, offering similar culinary versatility without the associated controversies.

So Which oil should I cook with?

Our recommendation is to cook with an unfiltered, Organic extra virgin olive oil.

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