it is commonly believed that canola oil, or rapeseed oil, is a
healthful addition to any kitchen, many people don't know that canola
oil should only be used for cold preparations, and should not be used
for cooking. According to a January 26, 1998 Omega Nutrition press
release, "heating distorts the omega-3 essential fatty acid found
in canola, turning it into an unnatural trans form that raises total
cholesterol levels and
lowers HDL [good] cholesterol." Omega suggests purchasing
unrefined canola oil that has been pressed and processed at
temperatures below 110 degrees F/43 degrees C.
fewer people realize that canola is one of over 30 crops approved for
genetic engineering in Canada. Writer Carola Barzak cautions readers
that "canola is genetically engineered in Canada to be resistant
to herbicides, allowing farmers to spray more chemicals to kill weeds
without damaging crops. Since fat-soluble herbicides tend to
concentrate in oils, does canola oil absorb the herbicide toxin
residues from the soil, as do peanuts? Are there long term side
effects from ingesting such genetically engineered food products?
Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are unknown"
(Health Naturally, October/November 1997, page 33).
Raised About Health Risks
A recent article
in The Province newspaper reveals that this $2.5 billion Prairie crop
is being investigated for possible health concerns. Initial questions
were raised by health officials in Japan, the final destination of
two-thirds of our oilseed exports. Japanese researchers found that the
life spans of rats fed diets rich in canola oil were 40% shorter.
Canadian federal scientists have spent the last 3 years and $730,000
trying to alleviate fears linking canola consumption to hypertension
and stroke. Health Canada insists that although their tests match the
Japanese data, canola poses no risks to humans. "There is no
indication that there is any concern of health risks to Canadians at
this point." said Health Department spokeswoman Lynn Sage (as
quoted in The Province). On the other hand. The Province also reported
that the relationship between Health Canada and the canola council
which performed the tests is a little too comfortable for federal NDP
health critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis. "’It's another example of
how Health Canada is abdicating its responsibility to Canadians,’
the Member of Parliment for Winnipeg-North Centre said." (The
Province, May 11 1999, page B24).
Action Network (www.hans.org)