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).