Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Did You Know India’s Kitchen Staple Mustard Oil Is Banned In The US? Here’s Why


Indian pantry is as versatile as you could have imagined. From different types of spices with different taste and aroma to a variety of oils for different cooking purposes, there’s no dearth of options in the store. In this article we will talk about one such versatile cooking that adds a strong pungent and earthy aroma to the recipes we include it in. Yes, we are talking about mustard oil. A staple in almost every Indian kitchen, mustard oil has a high smoking point, making it ideal for curries, especially the non-vegetarian ones. It is considered healthy as well. But did you know this beloved desi ingredient doesn’t have quite a reputation in the United States? You read that right. It is totally banned there for cooking purposes. Wonder why? Let’s share some insights with you.

Why Is Mustard Oil Banned In The United States?

According to food safety expert Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Lab, mustard oil is not approved in the United States because it is considered to have high levels of erucic acid. For the unversed, high levels of erucic acid are linked to potential heart problems and negative effects on the lungs and skin. These are considered some of the major reasons behind the US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) decision.

Also Read: 8 Incredible Mustard Oil Benefits That Make It So Popular

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Is The Erucic Acid In Mustard Really Harmful For You?

Ashwin Bhadri further explains that while small amounts of erucic acid are safe, high levels over a prolonged time could prove harmful. Erucic acid, highly concentrated in mustard oil, is a monounsaturated fatty acid found to be detrimental to cardiovascular health in animal studies when consumed in large amounts. While these studies involved higher doses than typical human consumption, the potential for similar effects in humans cannot be entirely ruled out, prompting regulatory caution. “However, the studies do not paint a clear picture of the effects of erucic acid on human health,” adds the food expert.

Should We Avoid Mustard Oil For Consumption?

Food expert Krish Ashok states that blind faith in certain scientific studies may not make sense. It is because of the quality of the studies and their economic incentives, which might play a bigger role in it. And this is why you will find Indian grocery stores in the United States selling bottles of mustard oils, with “for external use only” label on them. However, he adds, several Indians buy these bottles of oils and use them in their desi recipes.

It all started with a rat study in 1970s. But what we often fail to realise is “rats are fundamentally different in their metabolism,” he states. This is why, it is important to be mindful with your food choices and enjoy your meals doubt-free.

Also Read: Ghee Vs Mustard Oil – Which Is Better? Nutritionist Reveals Best Cooking Practices

Watch the detailed explanation video here:

About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.





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