Fix the Health Star Rating System for oils

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The HSR plans to rank Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) 4 stars and Canola Oil and Sunflower Oil 5 stars. Ranking Canola Oil and Sunflower Oil as healthier than EVOO contradicts best scientific evidence including:

  • There is no evidence that canola oil or sunflower oil are healthier than EVOO.
  • There is strong evidence that chemically refined seed oils such as canola oil and sunflower oil are detrimental to health due to their content of trans fats and other polar compounds and high levels of polyunsaturated fat;Trans fats are directly linked to heart disease and death from heart disease.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are more likely to react in the body and form harmful products (“oxidation”) that contribute to chronic disease.
    Best evidence suggests EVOO is healthier than canola oil or sunflower oil.
  • EVOO is a unique food in that it contains a high amount of natural antioxidants that are critical to its health benefits.
  • The HSR system ranks edible oils on saturated fat alone, making it the only food covered by the HSR system that ranks only one component.
  • Canola oil and sunflower oil receive a maximum health star rating of five and rank 20% higher than EVOO and avocado oil based on a slight (~ 5%) difference in saturated fat. All four oils are low in saturated fat to begin with and this difference in ranking is inaccurate and exaggerated.
  • New Australian research supports existing evidence that canola oil and sunflower oil are more likely to break down and form harmful compounds compared to EVOO when used in cooking due to their polyunsaturated fat content and the refining process used to produce them.
  • The health star rating system needs to be fixed for edible oils.