Hi Maghina - Canola oil is widely sold in South Africa along with Sunflower oil. We grow Canola as does Canada and the US.
There are quite a few postings on the web by interest groups warning against Canola but it is also sold in the US who have very high food safety standards. From a heart health point of view Canola has a very low saturated fat content.
Generally I tend to disbelieve the glowing claims of growers and manufacturers of products and have learnt to be cautious: I choose sunflower oil in preference to Canola and where possible always use a natural product - olive oil or butter - first and foremost. From what I can gather Canola is present in some brands of shortening.
For background Wiki says : “Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from rapeseed, an oilseed plant already used in ancient civilization. The word “rape” in rapeseed comes from the Latin word “rapum,” meaning turnip. Turnip, rutabaga, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard and many other vegetables are related to the two canola varieties commonly grown, which are cultivars of Brassica napus and Brassica rapa. The negative associations due to the homophone “rape” resulted in creation of the more marketing-friendly name “Canola”. The change in name also serves to distinguish it from regular rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid content.”
The Mayo Clinic had this to say: “Health concerns about canola oil that are being circulated on the Internet are unfounded.
Misinformation about the safety of canola oil may stem from the fact that, years ago, oil was produced from the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil contains very high levels — 30 percent to 60 percent — of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans. The canola plant was developed by natural cross-breeding from the rapeseed plant in the early 1970s. Canola oil is produced from canola plants, not rapeseed plants.
Canola plants have very low levels of erucic acid. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), canola oil contains erucic acid levels in the range of 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent. This is well below the 2 percent limit set by the FDA.
Canola oil is very low in saturated fat and has a very high proportion of monounsaturated fat. So, it’s a healthy and safe choice when it comes to oils.”