Canola oil, a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the Brassica napus.

Canola (Brassica napus) is one of the top five oilseed crops grown worldwide, and the leading crop in Canada. Canola is a marketing term that stands for CANadian Oil, although some say it stands for CANadian Oil Low Acid.

History

In the past, rapeseed oil was often used for industrial purposes (only). It was cheap to produce, but you couldn’t eat it because it contained some harmful substances, such as erucaic acid and glucosinolates. Erucaic acid is a fatty acid that caused heart damage in some rat studies. Glucosinolates are bitter substances, which gave it a bitter taste.

A number of Canadian scientists wanted to modify rapeseed oil to make it edible, so they used selective breeding techniques to “create” seeds that contained less of these harmful bitter substances. That’s how canola was born.

Canola isn’t really a unique plant; it’s just a name for a form of rapeseed (Brassica napus) that contains less of these undesirable substances. Since 1995, the chemical giant Monsanto modified it to be resistant to the herbicide RoundUp. Nowadays about 90% of the canola in the world is genetically modified.

Production

Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of colza, not to be confused with rapeseed. Colza is an agricultural crop, rapeseed a native wild plant. Both species are grown on a large scale nowadays. In the United States, all rapeseed oil is marketed under the name Canola for marketing reasons, even if it is not produced from the Canola variant. This is because of the negative meaning of the word “rape”. In practice, the names are used interchangeably.

Canola oil is a vegetable oil derived from a variety of rapeseed that is low in erucic acid, as opposed to colza oil. There are both edible and industrial forms produced from the seed of any of several cultivars of the plant family Brassicaceae. It is made from a form of seed that has been grown in such a way that it contains less of a number of bad substances.

Canola oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the Brassica napus. It contains relatively much erucic acid (40-50% of the fatty acid fraction) which makes the oil basically unsuitable for human consumption. As a foodstuff, it may contain practically no erucic acid. That is why varieties have been developed that contain little erucic acid (less than 0.5% to 1%) and a low glucosinolate content, making it suitable for human consumption.

Applications

Because of its light flavor, high smoke point, and smooth texture, canola oil is one of the most versatile cooking oils. You can use it in a number of dishes and cooking methods, like: As a cooking oil for sauteing, stir-frying, grilling, and baking. In salad dressings, sauces, and marinades.

Price Factors

The market is experiencing an increase in growth due to increasing demand because of its high nutrient content. Canola oil compromises a different fatty acid profile with low levels of saturated fatty acids and considerable levels of omega-3 and omega-8. Consumption therefore promotes good heart health. The global market is booming as it is a rich source of vitamin E as well, acting as an antioxidant that can protect the fat in the human body and proteins from free radicals. Primary factors for driving the market are increasing risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, shifting consumer focus and preference to healthy, low-fat oils. Increased use in products for skin and hair care is also expected to drive further growth.

Research shows that soybean price and canola prices are highly correlated. The former is positively affected by a time trend variable, expected wholesale price of corn oil, expected real expenditures spent on food, expected variable cost of growing soybeans, and one-year lagged farm-level corn price, but negatively affected by one-year lagged soybean price, one-year lagged wheat price, and one-year lagged acreage of soybeans. The same, in general, applies to canola due to the correlation of both products.

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