Minister Gerry Ritz Serves Up Heart Health in Beijing with Canola Oil
June 17, 2014 – BEIJING – The Canadian canola crop offers China both health and wealth by producing one of the healthiest vegetable oils in the world and being crushed and distributed domestically, notes Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, at an event celebrating Sino-Canadian agricultural trade today in Beijing. Canola is Canada’s number one agricultural export to China and China’s number two imported oilseed.
“Canadian canola products contribute about 23 billion RMB ($3.7 billion USD)to the Chinese economy annually and canola oil can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) when used in place of saturated fat,” says Ritz, who did a cooking demonstration with canola oil and celebrity chef Kenny Fu at the St. Regis Hotel’s China Gate restaurant in Beijing.
In 2012 alone, Canadian canola contributed more than 31.2 billion RMB ($5 billion USD) to the Chinese economy, according to a 2013 study by LMC International. This figure includes port activity, crushing canola seed for higher value oil and meal, oil refining, bottling, retail sales, delivering crude and refined oil by barge and rail, livestock industry benefits and downstream user benefits, (e.g., incorporating refined oil into industrial food applications). Moreover, about 594 million RMB ($95 million USD) in wages that year went to about 22,300 Chinese employees involved in these activities.
The event also coincided with the launch of CanolaInfo’s website in Mandarin, a portal for promoting the health benefits of Canadian canola oil to Chinese consumers. Canola oil has the least saturated fat (7%) – about half that of olive (15%), soybean (15%) and sunflower (12%) oils – of all common cooking oils, plus it is a good source of plant-based omega-3 fat. Canola oil is also free oftransfat and cholesterol.
“Given the prevalence of CVD and diabetes in China and consumers’ significant use of cooking oil, canola oil is the ideal choice as an everyday staple,” says Liu Na, president of Nutrition Strategies in Beijing. “According to scientific studies, as little as 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil a day in place of saturated fat may help reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s a simple change that Chinese consumers can make for a few jiaos (cents) per serving a day.”
About 290 million (over 22%) Chinese adults have CVD and 114 million (almost 12%) have diabetes, which puts them at greater risk for CVD.Therefore, having a heart-healthy diet with an everyday cooking oil low in saturated fat is critical.
“Market research shows that Chinese consumers are most concerned about health, safety and quality when it comes to cooking oil,” notes Canola Council of Canada Chair Terry Youzwa, a canola grower from Saskatchewan. “Canadian canola oil offers all of these attributes. I’m proud to grow this crop.”
Canola oil is also extremely versatile with its neutral flavour and colour, light texture and high heat tolerance (smoke point of 242 °C/368 °F).
“Canola oil is ideal for Chinese cuisine,” adds Chef Fu.“It lets the flavours of Chinese ingredients shine and can be used in most culinary applications – from cold dishes to stir-frying and deep-frying.”
China is one of Canada’s top canola customers in the world. In 2013, Canada exported 3 million tonnes of canola seed and 1 million tonnes of oil to China.
“The Canadian government and canola industry are committed to raising public awareness about canola oil through CanolaInfo,” concludes Ritz.“Coupled with China’s population – nearly 1.4 billion – and its increasing demand for vegetable oil, Canadian canola will continue to contribute to China’s health and wealth for the foreseeable future.”
CanolaInfo is the information source about canola oil for consumers, health professionals, chefs, media, educators – everyone who wants to know more about one of the world’s healthiest oils. The CanolaInfo team is supported by Canada’s canola growers, crop input suppliers, exporters, processors, food manufacturers and governments.