Posted by: Ria Smit | 2009-08-19

canola oil

I received the attached email from a friend. Is this statement true about canola oil?

Dear friends

I recently sent this letter to Fair Lady magazine in SA. But they haven' t published it, which I suspect may have something to do with the fact that Fair Lady runs ads for the product concerned. I think it' s important that as many people as possible KNOW about the origins of this product. Then, if you choose to buy it, at least you' re doing so with your eyes open.

Please forward this to the people in your address book. Email is the most powerful weapon in the world for free speech. I hope to receive this back in three months'  time, when it' s circled the globe. I am very far from being a health freak. But I believe that we have the right to know what we' re consuming. In South Africa, it seems, our labelling laws are so lax that manufacturers do not have to give any info whatsoever. Hence my research. Hence my (so far unpublished) letter to Fair Lady.

Read on,

Dear Editors

Recently I bought a cooking oil that' s new to our supermarkets, Canola Oil.

I tried it because the label assured me it was lowest in " bad"  fats. However, when I had used half the bottle, I concluded that the label told me surprisingly little else and I started to wonder: where does canola oil come from?

Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts, sunflower oil from sunflowers  but what is a canola? There was nothing on the label to enlighten me, which I thought odd. So, I did some investigating on the Internet.

There are plenty of official Canola sites lauding this new " wonder"  oil with all its low-fat health benefits. It takes a little longer to find sites that tell the less palatable details. Here are just a few facts everyone should know before buying anything containing canola. Canola is not the name of a natural plant but a made-up word, from the words " Canada"  and " oil" . Canola is a genetically engineered plant developed in Canada from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants.

According to AgriAlternatives, The Online Innovation and Technology Magazine for Farmers, " By nature, these rapeseed oils, which have long been used to produce oils for industrial purposes, are toxic to humans and other animals" . (This, by the way, is one of the websites singing the praises of the new canola industry.)

Rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and an excellent insect repellent. I have been using it (in very diluted form, as per instructions) to kill the aphids on my roses for the last two years. It works very well  it suffocates them. Ask for it at your nursery. Rape is an oil that is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base and as a illuminant for colour pages in magazines. It is an industrial oil. It is not a food.

Rape oil, it seems, causes emphysema, respiratory distress,anaemia, constipation, irritability and blindness in animals and humans. Rape oil was widely used in animal feeds in England and Europe between 1986 and 1991, when it was thrown out. Remember the " Mad Cow Disease"  scare, when millions of unfortunate cattle in the UK were slaughtered in case of infecting humans? Cattle were being fed on a mixture containing material from dead sheep, and sheep suffer from a disease called " scrapie" . It was thought this was how " Mad Cow"  began and started to infiltrate the human chain. What is interesting is that when rape oil was removed from animal feed, ' scrapie'  disappeared. We also haven' t seen any further reports of " Mad Cow"  since rape oil was removed from the feed. Perhaps not scientifically proven, but interesting all the same.

US and Canadian farmers grow genetically engineered rapeseed and manufacturers use its oil (canola) in thousands of processed foods, with the blessings of Canadian and US government watchdog agencies. The canola supporting websites say that canola is safe to use. They admit it was developed from the rapeseed, but insist that through genetic engineering it is no longer rapeseed, but " canola"  instead. Except canola means " Canadian oil"   and the plant is still a rape plant, albeit genetically modified.

The new name provides perfect cover for commercial interests wanting to take billions. Look at the ingredients list on labels. Apparently peanut oil is being replaced with rape oil. You' ll find it in an alarming number of processed foods. There' s more, but to conclude: rape oil was the source of the chemical warfare agent mustard gas, which was banned after blistering the lungs and skins of hundred of thousands of soldiers and civilians during W.W.I. Recent French reports indicate that it was again in use during the Gulf War. Check products for ingredients. If the label says, " may contain the following"  and lists canola oil, you know it contains canola oil because it is the cheapest oil and the Canadian government subsidises it to industries involved in food processing. I don' t know what you' ll be cooking with tonight, but I' ll be using olive oil and old-fashioned butter, from a genetically unmodified cow.

Yours Sincerely
Say No to Canola
Athalie Russell
Research Finance Officer
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Ria
This type of food scare information that is distributed on the Internet occurs from time to time. I have seen similar e-mails about GM foods, MSG, aspartame, cyclamates, etc. Crops have been genetically modified since the dawn of time when the first farmers started to select crops which would yield higher harvests. Canola oil, is safe and if you read this missive carefully you will find many anomalies. The author jumps to conclusions that are not valid. For example that Canola oil is the cheapest oil - it certainly is not in SA. The fact that it may or may not have been used to produce mustard gas during various recent wars, does not mean that the oil in the bottle you buy in the supermarket contains mustard gas, but that is the conclusion the author wants you to reach. So I take these food horror stories that make the rounds with a pinch of salt. I am also always wary of statements that blame every disease from baldness to bunions on one product or food - this is as nonsensical as claiming that one food or product (usually a herbal concoction) will cure every illness know to mankind. I would recommend that the person who supposedly sent the e-mail to ask her colleagues at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT to set the record straight for her. After all she is probably surrounded by experts in the fields of biochemistry and medicine. I think it is more relevant to worry about swine flu than to get into a tizzy about canola oil.
Best regards

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Our users say:
Posted by: Candy | 2009-08-19

No this is a very old and false statement

Reply to Candy

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