Apparently peanut oil is being replaced with rape oil. You'll find it in an alarming number of processed foods. I read where rape oil was the source of the chemical warfare agent mustard gas, which was banned after blistering the lungs and skins of hundred of thousands of soldiers and civilians during W.W.I. Recent French reports indicate that it was again in use during the Gulf War.
Check products for ingredients. If the label says, "may contain the following" and lists canola oil, you know it contains canola oil because it is the cheapest oil and the Canadian government subsidizes it to industries involved in food processing.
Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a rare fatal degenerative disease caused by in a build up long-chain fatty acids (c22 to c28) which destroys the myelin (protective sheath) of the nerves. Canola oil is a very long chain fatty acid oil (c22). Those who will defend canola oil say that the Chinese and Indians have used it for centuries with no effect, however it was in an unrefined form.*
(* taken from FATS THAT HEAL AND FATS THAT KILL by Udo Erasmus.)
I read about a man who bred birds, always checking labels to insure there was no rape seed in their food. He said, "The birds will eat it, but they do not live very long." A friend, who worked for only 9 mo. as a quality control taster at an apple-chip factory where Canola oil was used exclusively for frying, developed numerous health problems.
Rape seed oil used for stir-frying in China found to emit cancer-causing chemicals. (Rapeseed oil smoke causes lung cancer.) Amal Kumar Maj. The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 1995 pB6(W) pB6 (E) col 1(11 col in). Compiled by Darleen Bradley.
MORE on Canola
Canola oil Because of the public scare over animal fats, sales of vegetable oils of all types increased. It was the established wisdom that those oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids were especially beneficial (animal fats are high in saturated fatty acids). The obsession with polyunsaturated versus saturated fats led researchers and nutritionists to overlook some of the other features of vegetable oils that we now know are crucial to health, including: (1) susceptibility to rancidity; (2) ratio of omega-3 to ]omega-6 fatty acids and its relevance in inflammatory diseases and immune system function; (3) possible presence of irritating or toxic compounds in particular plant oils. Unlike the case of trans-fatty acids, for which there is massive amount of research data, there is much less documented scientific research on canola oil consumption in humans, specifically. Some sources (unverified) claim that the Canadian government and industry paid the U.S. FDA $50 million dollars to have canola oil placed on the GRAS ("Generally Recognized As Safe") list, which allowed the canola industry to avoid the lengthy and expensive approval process, including medical research on humans. However, experimental rats that were fed canola oil "developed fatty degeneration of the heart, kidney, adrenals, and thyroid gland. On withdrawing the canola oil from their diets, the deposits dissolved but scar tissue remained on all vital organs." [ref. 3a] In the absence of direct research studies of canola oil and human health, many concerned nutritionists and biochemists have attempted to analyze the canola oil situation on the basis of current knowledge of the biochemistry of fats and oils. While hard-nosed canola industry spokespersons may claim such commentary to be speculative, in the absence of proof of safety, anyone concerned about their family's health should pay close attention to the various arguments and warnings. [refs. 3a - 3i; for canola industry position, see refs. 3j, 3k]
The Canola Council of Canada has published a report [ref. 3k] that focuses heavily on the high polyunsaturated fatty acid content of canola oil and the presumed benefits of polyunsaturated oils on various blood parameters (platelet phospholipids, platelet aggregation, eicosanoid production, clotting time). In spite of the many scientific references listed at the end of the report, the author studiously avoids discussion of the toxic effects mentioned by many nutritionists and biochemists, and, instead, attempts to link many of the benefits of Mediterranean-type diets high in olive oil to diets high in canola oil, when in fact, no such evidence is presented, and canola oil has never been part of a traditional Mediterranean diet. Concerns about the risks of using canola (rapeseed) oil focus on several aspects: (1) the presence of long-chain fatty acids, including erucic acid, which are thought by some to cause CNS degeneration, heart disease, and cancer; (2) the high temperatures needed in the refining process to make canola oil palatable, which lead to formation of trans-fatty acids; (3) miscellaneous undesirable chemical constituents (thioglycosides and thiocyanates) whose effects are unclear, as their concentration in the refined product is probably very low. Although Chinese and Indian peoples have long used rapeseed oil in cooking, it was not refined and processed to the extent of modern commercial methods, and it was never considered to be a high quality oil for human consumption.