Interesting Facts about Canola

Essential good fats – canola oil is high

Fats are made up of smaller units called fatty acids. Two fatty acids are essential in your diet because your body can't make them. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid and linoleic acid (LA) is an essential omega-6 fatty acid. Both of these good fatty acids are polyunsaturated. Canola oil is a good source of the ALA omega-3 fatty acid and its ratio of 2:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 is nutritionally ideal. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart attacks and strokes by helping to lower bad cholesterol. Omega-6 fatty acid is important for the brain and essential for the growth and development of infants. Canola oil contains very high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids too. Monounsaturated fat lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and helps control blood glucose.


Award-winning Canola Oil – light, clear and tasty

Canola oil contains the least amount of saturated fat of any common edible oil on the market. At least 93% of the fats in canola are the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated varieties.

  • Canola has high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
  • Its polyunsaturated fats are essential omega-3s - which may help prevent heart attacks and strokes – and omega-6s – which are important for the brain and essential for the growth and development of infants.
  • It is a rich source of vitamin E.
  • Like all vegetable oils, canola oil is cholesterol-free.

Canola oil is also light, clear and tasty. Its culinary properties make it the oil of choice for many chefs and food processors. This award-winning oil has received the Product Acceptance Award from the American College of Nutrition, and the Health Product of the Year Award from the American Health Foundation.


Canola oil really cooks

Canola oil is light and clear and has a mild flavor that lets spices and herbs shine through in vinaigrettes. It enhances the delicate taste of baked goods. It delivers and seals in marinade flavors and its high smoke point makes it ideal for sautéing and deep frying. For recipes using canola oil, visit


Bad fats – canola oil is low

Saturated and trans fats are 'bad'. Saturated fats raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and have been linked to coronary heart disease. Canola oil has the lowest saturated fat level of all vegetable oils. Olive oil contains twice as much saturated fat as canola oil. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol (HDL). While all processed oils contain very small levels of trans fatty acids, government regulatory authorities in North America define canola oil as zero trans fat. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils to make them more solid increases trans fats. Be wise: choose canola oil and non-hydrogenated soft margarines instead of solid fats such as partially-hydrogenated margarine, shortening, lard and butter.


Canola oil contains no cholesterol

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance present in all parts of your body. There are two sources:   a) cholesterol made by your liver and   b) cholesterol that you eat in animal products such as eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, butter and lard. Canola oil is cholesterol-free.


Canada to boost canola production 65 pct by 2015

by Roberta Rampton

VICTORIA, British Columbia, March 22 (Reuters) – Canada is counting on demand for heart-healthy cooking oil to help boost canola production by 65 percent to 15 million tonnes by 2015, industry players said on Thursday. Interest in the crop has soared because it can be used to make cooking oil free of artery-clogging transfats, adopted by health-conscious consumers and major U.S. fast food chains alike.

"Customers are keenly interested in whether we'll be able to supply the product with regularity, and this is a critical, critical issue," Barb Isman, president of the Canola Council of Canada, told an industry conference. "The most important thing we have to do now is not let them down."

Canada produced 9.1 million tonnes of the rapeseed variant in 2006, down from a record 9.7 million tonnes the previous year. The new industry targets are designed to assure new customers in the food and biofuel markets that supply will grow, Isman said.

Canola oil is being used on its own and in blends by chains including McDonald's Corp., Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC and Taco Bell Corp., and Darden Restaurants Inc., the parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden. New York City banned transfats from restaurants last year, and other jurisdictions are considering similar regulations.

Canada is the largest canola producer, and the new 15-million-tonne target will require farmers to plant an extra 30 percent or 4 million acres of the crop, displacing mainly wheat, the country's largest crop. The industry is also counting on higher yields from new hybrid varieties to boost production, Isman said. An estimated 25 percent of production will come from varieties owned by Dow Chemical Co. and Cargill Inc.

Farmers complain that the varieties, grown under contract, are not profitable because of lower yields and insufficient premiums. Domestic oilseed crushers are pegged to more than double their crushings to 7.5 million tonnes selling most of the oil into the food market in North America and abroad. But the industry projected 2.5 million tonnes of seed could go to the biodiesel sector, depending on government policies in Canada and other parts of the world.

Canada could crush as much as 8 million to 9 million tonnes of canola domestically by 2015, with Japan seen as the largest market at 2 million tonnes, Mexico at 1.5 million tonnes, the United States at 1 million tonnes, and other markets like Pakistan and China taking 2 million tonnes. The plan calls for 1 million tonnes of exports of canola to the European Union, which currently bans Canadian seed because it is genetically modified.

Canada could meet the new growth targets as early as 2010, said Len Penner, president of Cargill's Canadian division. But he said that ambition could be derailed by Canada's perennial labor and rail transportation problems that tie up traffic at export ports.

"Unfortunately, I think our track record on reliability has not been the best," Penner said, noting the Canadian government may look at changing rail transportation laws. ($1 = 1.16 Canadian dollars)

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Canola Oil may be used in US Infant Formula


Canola oil is now generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use as an ingredient in infant formula marketed in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently made public that it has no questions in response to a notice that was filed with the agency for the inclusion of canola oil as a source of fat in term infant formulas. Canola oil can be included at levels up to 31 percent of the total fat blend.

"This is significant as canola oil has not previously been used in infant formula in the U.S. due to the absence of a GRAS submission to do so," says Shaunda Durance-Tod, M.S., R.D., manager of the CanolaInfo program at the Canola Council of Canada. "Canola oil is still a relative newcomer to the marketplace."

All infant formulas marketed in the U.S. must meet federal nutrient requirements. According to the FDA, formulas must contain the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, which aid in infant growth and development. Canola oil has among the highest ALA content of all edible oils – 11 percent compared to 8 percent in soybean oil.


Canola Facts: Why Growers Choose GM Canola

Here are some key facts on growing genetically modified (GM) canola in Canada.

GM or transgenic canola varieties have been modified to be resistant to specific herbicides. They are called herbicide-resistant varieties. The plants are modified, but the oil is not modified. It is identical to canola oil from non-modified or conventional canola.

Herbicide-resistant GM canola is grown on about 80% of the acres in western Canada. GM canola was first introduced in 1995.

In conventional canola, there are some weeds that are difficult to control. Growers choose herbicide-resistant canola varieties primarily because weed control is easier and better. Other reasons growers choose herbicide-resistant canola are better yields, better returns and more profit.

Regardless of the type of canola, growers manage canola plants that grow in subsequent crops. These plants are called volunteers. Canola volunteers from GM canola can be easily controlled by management practises such as proper tillage and herbicides, just like conventional volunteers. A study was conducted in 2001 and it 2005 on growers' use of GM canola. The majority of growers in both studies reported that managing GM volunteers is the same or easier than managing conventional volunteers.

There are no cases of GM canola crossing with weeds in Canada.

GM canola has crossed with other types of canola, as would be expected with conventional canola. In a few cases, growers have found canola volunteers with multiple resistance to herbicides. However, these plants are easily controlled with other herbicides that are readily available.

Growers reported an average 10% yield increase (3 bu/ac) for their GM canola compared to conventional canola (2001 study). The factors that contributed to this increase included better yielding varieties, earlier seeding and better weed control.

The study found that dockage – anything in the harvested crop that is not canola (like weed seeds and chaff) – dropped by 1.27% in GM canola, resulting in higher canola prices for growers.

Growers use tillage to control weeds and prepare the soil for planting. Excessive tillage can cause soil structure changes and increase soil erosion. In the 2001 study, growers using GM canola reduced the number of tillage operations compared to conventional canola growers. Growers increased direct-seeding and reduced summer fallow. This resulted in 2.6 million acres (1.05 million ha) with less tillage in 2000.

The study showed that growers using GM canola used less fuel due to fewer field operations (tillage, harrowing, fertilizing and less summer fallow). Growers used 31 million less litres of fuel in 2000, saving them $13 million. Less fuel use resulted in less greenhouse gas emissions.

Growers of GM canola in the study used less herbicide. They applied 6,000 tonnes less chemical in both 1999 and 2000.

Herbicide costs for growers using GM canola were 40% lower than for the conventional growers.

Growers reported an average of $8.50/acre increase in net return on their GM canola acres compared to conventional acres in 2000. An economic model developed for the study calculated a $10.62 profit advantage. Revenue was higher due to increased yields, less dockage and lower herbicide costs. The direct economic impact to growers due to the adoption of GM canola from 1997 to 2000 was between $144 and $249 million.

When a technology like GM canola is adopted, it can indirectly impact the whole community due to:

  • added investment in canola crushing capacity;
  • improvements in the local seed, herbicide and equipment industry; and
  • added shipping, handling, and marketing, etc.

From 1997 to 2000, the study estimated this indirect impact was from $58 to $215 million. Therefore, the total value to the industry from 1997 to 2000, including both direct revenue to the growers and the indirect value, was up to $464 million.

November 1, 2005


Canola oil is a good fat

Your body needs fat – to keep you warm, provide energy and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids. The National Academy of Science Dietary Reference Intakes, developed by Canadian and American nutrition experts, recommends that fat provide between 20% and 35% of total energy intake. But some fats are healthier for you than others. Canola oil provides more of the good fats than any other popular vegetable oil.


Canola oil is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E

One serving of canola oil each day will deliver about a quarter of all the vitamin E you need to protect your body's fats and proteins from free radical damage. Vitamin E may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and memory loss.


Canola oil is made from canola

Canola oil is pressed from tiny canola seeds produced by beautiful yellow flowering plants of the Brassica family. Cabbages and cauliflower are also part of the same botanical family! Canola was bred naturally from its parent rapeseed in the early 1970s. Canola, however, is NOT rapeseed – their nutritional profiles are very different.


Canola Facts: An Industry that Depends on Trade

The following are some key facts on why trade negotiations matter to canola.

Today, nearly 40% of the vegetable oils consumed by Canadians are produced from Canadian-grown and processed canola. However, this represents only 20% to 25% of the crop grown each year, so the rest has to be exported. Canada produces only 15% of the world's annual supply of rapeseed/canola but is responsible for roughly 75% of its global trade.

Canola exports could grow considerably but are being limited by barriers to trade, notably tariffs and subsidies in other countries. Canadian farmers and agribusiness held in storage roughly 2.5 million tonnes in 2005/2006, out of a total production of 9.7 million tonnes due to depressed prices and access problems in export markets. For example, Canola growers' incomes are being hurt by the domestic subsidy programs of the U.S. and the EU and by hidden subsidies used to promote soybean oil production in South America and palm oil production in Malaysia. These activities seriously depress world prices for oilseed products.

Discriminatory tariffs are another problematic issue. In countries like China and Taiwan, canola seed has a higher tariff than soybeans. In Korea, Pakistan and India, canola oil has higher tariffs than soybean oil. In a highly competitive marketplace, this translates into either fewer sales or lower prices for canola due to the unfair tariff disadvantage. Because other countries know the benefits of a value-added processing sector, tariffs on oil are often higher than they are on raw seed to protect their domestic crushing industry. For example, in Japan, the tariff on canola seed is zero but the tariff on canola oil is 20.5%.

India imports approximately five million tonnes of edible oil and Canada does virtually none of this business due to technical barriers to trade and high tariffs on canola oil vs. competitors. Along with the Japanese example, this damages the ability of our own crushing industry to generate jobs and economic activity in Canada and puts pressure on the price Canadian farmers receive, as a large part of the world market is not open to them.

Another key to the growth of the canola industry is increased standards of living in many of the world's developing nations. Trade liberalization will in part support that trend. With increased spending power, these consumers can afford to pay a premium for a healthy oil product like canola.

Trade liberalization through the WTO is fundamental to the future prosperity of the Canadian canola industry. We are specifically seeking:

  • an end to the discriminatory tariffs on canola relative to other seeds, oils and fats;
  • parity between canola seed and canola oil tariffs; and
  • the elimination of trade distorting subsidies.

Finally, the U.S. has a significant soybean sector that will no doubt benefit should that nation choose to continue to negotiate bilateral trade agreements. We strongly encourage the Canadian government to limit the possibility that soybeans will receive preferential treatment relative to canola by negotiating similar agreements in our key markets (China, Japan, India and South Korea).

April 3, 2006