What is canola?
The oilseed packed with healthy oil, protein and potential
In a few decades, canola has become one of the world’s most important oilseeds and one of Canada’s leading crops. Today canola is a true “made-in-Canada” success story and the foundation of a thriving, sustainable industry.
The canola plant
One of the most widely grown crops in Canada, canola plants produce beautiful small yellow flowers which develop into pods, resembling pea pods. Each pod contains tiny black seeds, made up of about 45% oil. Once harvested, canola seeds are crushed to release the oil contained within the seed.
Canola grown in Canada belongs to the Brassica napus B. rapa or B. juncea species which belong to a much larger mustard family (Brassicaceae). Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are also part of this same botanical family. Learn more about the history of canola seed development.
The name canola is a contraction of Canada, where canola was developed, and ola, referring to oil.
To earn the name canola, products must meet this internationally regulated standard:
“Seeds of the genus Brassica (Brassica napus, Brassica rapa or Brassica juncea) from which the oil shall contain less than 2% erucic acid in its fatty acid profile and the solid component shall contain less than 30 micromoles of any one or any mixture of 3-butenyl glucosinolate, 4-pentenyl glucosinolate, 2-hydroxy-3 butenyl glucosinolate, and 2-hydroxy- 4-pentenyl glucosinolate per gram of air-dry, oil-free solid.”
What is canola used for?
Heart-healthy cooking oil
Oil makes up nearly 45% of a canola seed – about double the oil content of soybeans. Canola oil has the lowest saturated fat content of all common vegetable oils. Its light texture, taste and high smoke point make it a versatile choice for home and commercial kitchens.
Learn more about canola oil.
Premium protein for animal feed
The solid parts of canola seed are processed into canola meal, an efficient protein source for dairy herds, livestock, poultry and fish. Canola meal has the potential to be a plant-based protein for human diets, as well.
Learn more about canola meal.
Sustainably grown in Canada
Canadian farmers take pride in how they care for their most valued resource, their land. They use practices and adopt leading-edge innovations that improve soil and water health, sequester carbon, reduce energy, increase land use efficiency and preserve biodiversity.
Learn more about canola’s environmental sustainability.
Powerful engine for economic growth
Canola has become one of Canada’s most valuable agricultural exports and an important source of income for 43,000 Canadian farmers. Today more than 207,000 Canadian jobs are linked to canola – and the crop’s potential continues to grow. Renewable biofuels are the latest opportunity to expand uses for Canadian canola.