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Canola oil banned in Europe?

I have been reading a lot recently on the prevalence of Genetically Modified (GM) foods in our diet here in this country. For all sorts of detailed information you can check out An Urban Plot and GM Watch. I won’t try to cover all the details here but I wanted to bring one point to mind while you are picking out your next cooking oil…Have you ever seen a Canola plant? Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts…how about canola oil? Did you know that there are groups who want to make canola oil banned in Europe?   Yup, the oil that health experts seem to be telling us is oh so healthy here in the US is the subject of a fair amount of controversy in other countries.

canola oil banned in europe

Is Canola Oil Banned In Europe?

What is canola oil?  Here is a quick explanation: Basically, someone took a plant called the Rape plant (horribly bad name!) and modified  it so that the resulting seed oil was non toxic. Prior to is alteration,  rapeseed oil was toxic and used only in industrial practices. Since this was done in Canada, the name was created…CAN (Canada) O (oil) LA (low acid).  The Canola Council states these modifications were done with old fashioned plant breeding techniques but today’s strains of plants used for Canola oil production are almost all genetically modified.  Canada and the United States produce between 7 and 10 million tonnes of canola seed per year.  Most of that canola oil comes from genetically modified plants.

lalboratory

There are a number of controversies regarding genetically modified foods. In my opinion, the concerns for human health and the environment are valid. These are plants that were artificially created and selected in a laboratory.  I have nothing against science!  I am a scientist myself and have actually worked in many labs like the one above.  However, I do not feel that science should inserting genes into plants that will eventually become my dinner.   I would love to see labeling requirements for products that contain GMO’s but pockets are deep in the government when it comes to food labeling laws.  According to the European Food Standard’s Agency, “if a food contains or consists of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contains ingredients produced from GMOs, this must be indicated on the label.”  So, while no one has managed to get canola oil banned in Europe YEP, it does have to be labeled as a genetically modified food.  Bet that cuts down on profits over in Europe, huh?  And that is one of the reasons why the people at the top of the food production pyramid don’t want GMO labeling laws passed here in the US.  Maybe there are people who don’t care if their food is genetically modified but if I was presented with a bottle of GMO canola oil or a bottle of olive oil, I would certainly skip the one that scientists created in the laboratory.  My food should come from nature, not a lab!

So, what do you think?  Stricter labeling laws, a complete ban on GMO foods, or do you just not care what you are eating?

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About Diane

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can't quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!

Comments

  1. It’s legal, and they actually produce some there. I think it’s just illegal to grow genetically modified plants there. I would really rather use olive oil than canola…

  2. 25% of rape seed plants are genetically modified.
    The plants are modified to be insect pest resistance and or to help keep the weeds from growing. This is what we are eating……

    Our children are developing life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods. The GM foods can be in your baby food without you knowing.
    The bees and butterflies are dying has be sited as the insect pest resistance plants don’t target the bad, but can kill the helpful bugs. How do we know that we are not making super bugs. Mosquitoes developed resistance to the now-banned pesticide DDT.

  3. Thank you for your comments! I dislike greatly the modification of plants to be pesticide resistant since, as you stated, pesticides kill ALL bugs, even the helpful ones. And Christie, I agree, olive oil is a much better choice!

  4. Interesting. We use olive oil whenever we can, but when it comes to baking cakes and popping popcorn, we’ve used canola oil. I had no idea about any of that!

  5. Michelle says:

    This is really confusing to me. My husband is from Germany and he told me they use the rape seed oil all the time. They decided not to take the canola name. So yes, they use it. But wouldn’t it be genetically modified then? I heard canola is 100% genetically modified. But maybe there are 2 different types of modify. The rapeseed one, had to be modified for human consumption so it would not be toxic and not for motor oil. But if it use to be toxic, does that make it okay now? But fuji apples and seedless watermelons have also been manipulated by science but are technically not on the GMO list (soy, corn, cottonseed, canola). I just don’t understand why Europe would use something modified when it could be potentially dangerous. They out right BAN everything else!

  6. Honestly, I do not understand the intricacies of GM regulations. It concerns me that we went from toxic to non toxic in the blink of a laboratory minute. However, gentic modification has been around for eons…it just used to take several generations of plants to actually create change!

  7. Wow this is really scary!

  8. Benjamin says:

    My biggest concern over vegetable oils are the high concentrations of PUFAs not found from other sources, which could have serious health repercussions. There’s certainly high concentrations of certain types of omega-6 fatty acids in canola oil, which you wouldn’t find in palm or olive oils.

    • I tend to stick to olive oil because it is more ‘natural’. I avoid Palm oil mainly due to issues surrounding deforestation and how they plant and harvest the crops. I do use vegetable oil for baking since olive oil seems to have a bit more ‘flavor’ to it that doesnt go will in cookies…

  9. People don’t realize how bad canola oil is for you, it is still rapeseed. It should be banned here in Canada too, I refuse to eat anything with canola oil in it. If everyone did this, companies would have to change or go out of business. Now that’s something to think about.

    • I dont buy it to cook with but admit I am not always great about reading ingredient labels to avoid it completely. I am still suspicious of it and prefer olive oil whenever possible!

  10. I am a supporter for gmos. I have a background inbiochemistry and upon reading the many articles about gmos (both scientific and not) I dont see a reason as to why consuming a gmo would be bad for you. Essentially it is a sped up version of evolution. Evolution that would have taken many more years to happen naturally.

    • My biggest concern about GMOS isn’t so much their effect on US but their effect on the environment and the control the patent holders have over the seeds and crops. But, I admit I am a little leery of some genetically modified products…

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