Organic Consumers Association

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Organic Canola Oil; Is That an Oxymoron?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Health Issues page.

First of all, if canola oil is processed from rapeseed oil, which is highly toxic to humans, can canola legitimately be labeled "organic," just because the farmers aren't using pesticides or chemical fertilizers? Let's go back to the drawing board on this one and figure this out before we all consume a boatload more of "organic canola," thinking the coast is clear. The organic farming movement arose in the 1940's in response to the industrialization of agriculture. Seventy years later, there are strict regulations and vigorous inspections to make sure anything carrying the USDA organic seal is legitimately organic. Organic food also means that there is no irradiation, no synthetic inputs and absolutely no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or chemical additives. Though organic food is safer and healthier than conventional food, no companies can make that claim, so how does canola fly under the radar and gain that organic seal when it comes from rapeseed? Did you know that bio-diesel is also derived from rapeseed? Rape is actually a weed and even insects won't eat it, so why are millions of people eating canola every day whether it's organic or not? Is "organic canola" really inorganic? Let's figure this whole thing out. (

Canola oil, organic or not, inhibits enzyme function Wait, did you think there was a canola plant, like corn, soy or sunflower? Did you think making canola is just about pressing seeds? Want to put a "hex" on your health? Insert "hexane" and wait for problems to rear their ugly head. Hexane, a vapor component of gasoline, is used to process oils and has been since WWII. Yes, hexane is flammable. So how is this organic? Good question. Hexane is a chemical made from crude oil, the mainstream solvent extraction method of the entire Western world. So how does rapeseed oil magically turn into canola oil? Is it bleached, deodorized or cooked at high heat to remove the stink? The omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed during the deodorizing process into trans-fatty acids. The reason why canola is particularly unsuited for consumption is that it contains a very long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.

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