Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil made from crushed seeds of the canola plant.
It is commonly found on the ingredients list of American food products, and US recipes call for this cooking oil for frying, sauteing, and baking.
However, it can be difficult to find in the United Kingdom, and there are rumours circulating online that this vegetable oil is prohibited in Europe.
So, is canola oil banned in the UK? We are here to set the record straight! This article discusses the legal status of canola oil in the UK in detail.
We also cover the associated health impacts of eating canola oil and alternatives you can purchase in British supermarkets.
Is Canola Oil Banned in the UK?
Despite what you may have heard, canola oil is not banned in the UK and never has been!
If you haven’t seen it on British supermarket shelves, it isn’t because canola oil is banned, it’s because it is called something else. In the UK, canola oil is called “rapeseed oil”.
The word “rapeseed oil” is also used in the US, but this refers to industrial canola oil used in the chemical industries rather than cooking oils.
However, the UK uses the term “rapeseed oil” to refer to both culinary and industrial oil types.
To make things more confusing, standard rapeseed oil is often simply labelled “vegetable oil” in British supermarkets, so always check the label.
In the UK, we also have a different word for the canola plant: the crop is called “oilseed rape.”
Even if you haven’t heard of oilseed rape before, you probably recognise it. The plant typically blooms in summer and has golden-yellow flowers.
We’ve been growing the crop in the UK since the 1970s, and today there are never a million acres of yellow fields stretching across the Great British countryside.
Is Canola Oil Dangerous?
Despite what you may have heard, there are no significant health risks associated with canola oil.
According to the Jamie Oliver website, people should consider changing to rapeseed oil as a healthier yet equally delicious alternative to other common cooking oils.
Healthline also has positive things to say, claiming that the oil has all of the following health benefits:
- Vitamin E for healthy skin and eyes
- Low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats for good heart health
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ADA) for heart health benefits
- Omega-6 fatty acids to support overall health
In addition, the oil has a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to experts, a ratio of 1:4 or lower is considered a healthy balance. Canola oil has an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:2, making it fall well within the healthy range.
However, consuming too much of these fatty acids may contribute to inflammation, so overeating canola oil should be avoided.
As a cooking oil, rapeseed oil is also processed food. There is nothing wrong with consuming processed foods, but they should be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a healthy, nutritionally-balanced lifestyle.
But Haven’t Scientists Issued a Warning Against Canola Oil?
If you were sure the oil was toxic and are feeling confused about all the aforementioned health benefits, you’re not wrong.
Internet myths have been circulating about the toxicity of canola oil since 2010, primarily via social media platforms.
You can see an example from the Facebook archive here. As you can see, it paints canola oil in a pretty bad light.
However, these claims are certainly untrue. Many experts have debunked the claims, but many assume the worst still.
We are here to tell you not to worry! As a processed food, rapeseed oil is certainly not the healthiest food, but as far as cooking oils go, it’s a smart switch to make for a healthier lifestyle.
Hannah is a freelance content writer passionate about natural health, mindfulness, and the environment. She shares her enthusiasm for a conscious lifestyle on Naturaler, inspiring others to take the steps towards a more natural and fulfilling life