A lot of food manufacturers are not happy with FDA proposals to revoke the GRAS status of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Meanwhile, the soybean industry is urging the agency to hold off until larger quantities of new high oleic soybean oil are available. But what do the canola oil experts think?
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT show in New Orleans, Mary LaGuardia, omega-9 oils market manager at canola oils expert Dow AgroSciences, said that there is no silver bullet when it comes to PHO replacement. But tools are available now.
"There are technologies out there that can be employed, and they exist today."
And naturally stable 'omega 9' canola (zero trans, high oleic and low sats) from Dow's patented Nexera seeds is a key part of the toolbox, she said.
But given that canola is a liquid oil, can it help food manufacturers looking for PHO alternatives in applications where more solid fats are required?
Not on its own, said LaGuardia, but customers are blending it with small quantities of palm oil fractions (hard fats which have much higher melting points), to create bakery shortenings that can be used to replace straight palm oil (which is 50% saturated fat) and keep labels clean (its oxidative stability helps firms avoid unwanted preservatives such as TBHQ).
"You can also employ oil processing techniques such as interesterification to create a fatty acid profile that will give you the melting properties that are required."
Acreage devoted to canola production has been rising exponentially to meet growing demand
While supply of omega-9 canola oils was tight a couple of years ago, things are very different now, said LaGuardia, with the acreage devoted to canola production rising exponentially to meet growing demand.
As for nutrition, while extra virgin olive oil tends to get the best PR owing to its association with the Mediterranean diet, omega-9 canola has a similar nutritional profile, she pointed out.