Canola Oil - The Controversy and Why We Use It
Posted on 13 January 2017
Part of Lavami’s philosophy is that our ingredients must be high quality, non-GMO and sustainable, while supporting different communities and producers globally. We research and source ingredients from all over the world, each has a unique story and fits within our criteria, but above all we ensure that as many as possible are local. We believe that sourcing local ingredients helps our communities and economy, and builds on the idea of being made in Canada.
There are a lot of luxurious ingredients in the world, but who knew that we have some pretty nourishing, skin-loving, vitamin packed ingredients found right in our backyard. It was a struggle at first, finding ingredients that work within our products and fit our requirements. It took a long time to research and find farms that produce products that we approve; seed source and production processes had to be carefully examined.
One ingredient that we have in abundance, and makes a pretty nice hand and body soap in our opinion, is canola oil. Despite the bad press and controversy surrounding it, we decided to use it. Not all canola is the same, and we would like to take the time to dispel some of the myths and give you some facts about the canola we use.
When people hear the word “canola” they automatically think genetically modified grains that are solvent dissolved. While some of this information is true for a lot of the canola oil on the market, it is untrue of the canola oil we use.
Let’s start with the myth that all canola oil is genetically modified. Canola oil was derived from traditional plant breeding methods and was around some twenty years before genetic modification was developed. Canola oil was developed by breeding together crops with desirable rapeseed characteristics to create an edible canola oil through traditional plant breeding methods. Now most of the canola oil across North America is GMO today, but there are still canola crops that can be genetically verified as non-GMO. The canola we use in our products is verified non-GMO and organic.
What makes traditional plant breeding methods different than genetically modified ones is that traditional plant breeding involves transferring pollen from one parent to another parent to try to combine desirable characteristics of each parent into the progeny (the seed). In traditional breeding, thousands of genes are being rearranged, but in genetic engineering single genes are spliced with a gene that can come from any organism, whereas traditional breeding the species must be closely related. Traditional plant breeding is more common than you think, companies that cultivate oil-producing crops or trees, use traditional plant breeding to obtain seeds with the most desirable qualities, as they want the best product possible going to market. This goes for a lot of plant and grain oils, not just canola, also think about certain types of flowers, even fruits.
Most people assume that canola is chemically extracted using solvents, which can leave behind a residue in the oil. There are two ways to extracting oils from plants and grains; which is solvent extraction and expeller pressing. This goes for all oils and butters, not just canola. Solvent extraction is where a chemical, usually hexane, is used to separate the oil from the rest of the plant matter, and expeller pressing uses high pressure to squeeze the oil out of the raw material. The canola oil we use is expeller pressed and does not undergo solvent extraction.
Our hand and body soaps are formulated to be gentle, moisturizing, hold up well in the shower and lather well. It took years to find to the perfect formula and we are so excited to share it with you! We are also over the moon to include other local ingredients in the products we produce.