Ethical Cooking Oils

by Mary Closser

Have you ever wondered how ethical your favorite cooking oil is? A daily amount of these fatty liquids are necessary for our body, skin and hair, yet, it’s important to be aware of the type we consume. Avoid hydrogenated oils, high in trans fats, often found in corn, safflower, soy, corn and more. How the oil is processed is also important.

Most oils come from extracting and expressing parts of plant seeds or nuts and extraction often requires a cleaning agent which can be unhealthy for workers. And some oils have become so popular that industrial farming prevails which can involve pesticides, soil erosion, water scarcity and more. It’s important to know who’s behind the scenes in your choice oil’s production.

Rapeseed or ‘Canola’ oil, widely popular in the 1970’s, is now mostly genetically modified and higher in trans fats. Olive and Coconut Oil, staples for many, are healthy and delicious but it’s important to purchase organic certification from independent producers invested in sustainable sourcing. Palm oil is mostly harvested in Malaysia and Indonesia where deforestation is threatening certain keystone species and ecosystems, not to mention workers’ rights.

Supermarket shelves are loaded with oil options – it’s up to us to know where and how to look. The more ethical oils will be organic, non GMO, unrefined and cold-pressed. Those in glass are often higher quality and easier to recycle. Lastly, don’t put used or old oil down the drain – it’s not a friend to water! Bring it to Recycle Utah to be used as biofuel.