Canola oil is the market name for rapeseed oil which, as might be assumed from the name, is expressed from rape seeds. For obvious reasons, the name was changed to canola by the Canadian seed-oil industry
Canola is an oilseed crop that was developed from traditional rapeseed by Canadian plant breeders during the 1970′s. It is grown widely across Canada, several European countries, and Australia, and to a lesser extent in the United States. Canola is distinguished from traditional rapeseed by the greatly reduced levels of the fatty acid, erucic acid and anti-nutritional compounds called glucosinolates.
These alterations have led to the widespread use of canola oil in Canada and today it is the most popular all-purpose vegetable oil. Canola oil is sold as a salad and frying oil and is also used in margarines, shortenings and in prepared foods that contain vegetable oil (such as baked goods, potato chips, french fries, etc.). Canola oil accounted for approximately 78% of total Canadian production of edible oils in 1996 (Statistics Canada, 1996).
Canola oil is the preferred oil for use in both countries because it is the oil lowest in saturated fats. Canola meal is the by-product of canola oil processing. It is used as a high-protein feed ingredient in the rations of poultry, swine, cattle and fish.
These food and feed applications are possible through strict procedures used in the processing of canola seed into oil and meal. This document describes the processing methodologies that are used by the canola industry to produce high quality oil and meal products.
The production of edible vegetable oils including canola oil involves two overall processes, mechanical pressing and extraction, and further processing to remove impurities. The techniques used are similar for most vegetable oils produced from the seeds of plants. The crushing and extraction processes utilized by the canola industry today produce very little change to the fatty acid profile of the oil and the nutritional qualities of the meal.
A mild-flavored vegetable oil, canola is a good all-purpose oil. It is the lowest in polyunsaturated fat of any oil on the market. Following close behind in quality are safflower and sunflower oils. It has almost no taste and is used both for cooking and for salad dressings.