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FDA Approves Qualified Health Claim for Canola Oil

FDA has ruled that canola oil is now eligible to bear a qualified health claim on its ability to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to its unsaturated fat content.

FDA has approved the claim for foods that contain at least 4.75 grams of canola oil per reference amount customarily consumed, no more than 1 gram trans fat, and low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. FDA's ruling reads:

Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1½ tablespoons (19 grams) of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in canola oil. To achieve this possible benefit, canola oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of canola oil.

The Canola Council of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, reports that it will support the use of this new marketing tool to promote healthy eating. "It's now possible to point to this FDA approval to show very clearly that all fats are not created equal," says Barb Isman, president, Canola Council of Canada. "Canola oil is a good fat. We've said it all along, and now the FDA agrees. Canola oil provides a simple and affordable way to improve heart health, and that's great news. We're hoping as an industry, of course, that the claim will encourage more food product designers and manufacturers to use canola oil rather than less-healthy choices."

Canola oil is high in healthy unsaturated fats (93%), free of cholesterol and trans fat, and the lowest in saturated fat (7%) of any common edible oil. In addition, canola oil is multifunctional with a high heat tolerance, neutral flavor and light, smooth texture.

For more information on the FDA qualified health claim for canola oil, go to http://www.canola-council.org. To date, FDA has also authorized qualified health claims related to reducing heart-disease risk for olive oil, nuts, walnuts and foods that contain DHA/EPA (omega-3 fatty acids). Qualified health claims have also been approved for other foods and compounds related to different health conditions (see http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qhc-sum.html for more information).

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