7 Surprising Reasons Why Your Canola Oil Goes Bad Faster Than You Think!

Yes, canola oil can go bad. Canola oil has a shelf life of approximately one year after it has been opened.

Canola oil is an oft-used oil in home cooking and baking, but it has the potential to go bad just like any other oil. Because of this, it’s essential to know how to properly store and manage your canola oil to avoid spoilage.

The shelf life of canola oil is around one year after being opened, but factors such as storage conditions and packaging can play a role in how quickly it spoils.

In this article, we’ll discuss how long canola oil lasts, signs of spoilage, and how to extend the shelf life of your canola oil to make the most of your investment.

7 Surprising Reasons Why Your Canola Oil Goes Bad Faster Than You Think!

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Reason 1: Exposure To Oxygen

Does Canola Oil Go Bad?

Canola oil is a widely used cooking oil that has a relatively extended shelf life. However, despite its long-lasting properties, canola oil can go bad over an extended period, primarily due to exposure to oxygen.

This blog post will discuss how oxygen exposure contributes to canola oil going bad and prevention tips.

Explanation Of Oxidation

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs in canola oil when it comes into contact with air. The process involves the breaking down of the oil’s fatty acids, which creates free radicals that react with oxygen in the air. As the oil becomes increasingly rancid, its quality begins to deteriorate, and it loses its nutritional benefits and flavor.

How Oxygen Exposure Contributes To Canola Oil Going Bad

The exposure of canola oil to oxygen can cause it to go bad in a few ways.

  • Increased oxidation: As explained earlier, oxygen exposure initiates oxidation in the oil, causing it to become rancid and lose its nutritional value. This process can occur when the oil is exposed to air during storage, cooking, or dispensing.
  • Increased acidity: Oxidation leads to the formation of free radicals that react with the oil’s fatty acids, causing acidification. Acidity can cause the oil’s flavor to deteriorate and even create adverse health effects when consumed.
  • Microbial growth: Oxygen exposure can encourage microbial growth, which can lead to the degradation of the oil’s quality.

Prevention Tips

Various strategies can help prevent your canola oil from going bad due to oxygen exposure.

  • Proper storage: Store canola oil in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. It can help minimize oxygen exposure and reduce oxidation, thus extending the oil’s lifetime.
  • Utilize smaller containers: When dispensing canola oil, use smaller, tightly sealed containers to minimize exposure to air. This practice reduces the amount of oxygen contact, which can help increase the oil’s longevity.
  • Cook at lower temperatures: When cooking with canola oil, keep the heat low to prevent the oil from breaking down and becoming rancid. High temperatures can cause oxidation to occur more rapidly, leading to the oil going bad much sooner.

It’s essential to be mindful of the exposure of canola oil to oxygen to guarantee that it remains fresh and usable for an extended period.

Proper storage, using small containers, and cooking at lower temperatures are all effective strategies to keep the oil fresh and prevent it from going bad.

Reason 2: High Temperatures

Canola oil is a widely used cooking oil that is extracted from the seeds of canola plants. While it has a long shelf life, it can eventually go bad. There are several reasons why canola oil can spoil, and one of the main reasons is exposure to high temperatures.

In this section, we will discuss how high temperatures affect canola oil, give examples of high-temperature exposure, and provide prevention tips to ensure your canola oil stays fresh.

Explanation Of How High Temperatures Affect Canola Oil

When heated, canola oil oxidizes, causing its fats to break down and generate free radicals that make the oil rancid. As the temperature increases, the speed of this oxidation reaction also increases, leading to a faster deterioration of the oil.

This process is known as oxidative stability, and it is a crucial factor to consider when determining the shelf life of cooking oils.

Examples Of High-Temperature Exposure

Cooking with canola oil involves exposing it to high temperatures, resulting in the gradual degradation of the oil.

Here are some examples of common high-temperature exposures of canola oil:

  • Deep frying: This cooking method exposes canola oil to temperatures ranging from 350°f to 400°f, leading to a faster breakdown of the oil.
  • Roasting: When you roast food at high temperatures, you also subject the canola oil to high heat, which can cause it to degrade faster.
  • Sautéing: This cooking method involves heating oil to high temperatures. The longer you sauté, the more heat the oil is exposed to, causing it to break down and go rancid quickly.

Prevention Tips

To prolong the shelf life of your canola oil, you should take the following steps:

  • Store canola oil in a cool and dark place, away from heat and light.
  • Avoid exposing the oil to high temperatures or direct sunlight.
  • Only use canola oil for cooking at the optimal temperature. For example, deep frying should be done at temperatures between 350°f and 375°f.
  • Dispose of canola oil that has been exposed to high temperatures or has an off smell or taste.

Canola oil can go bad when exposed to high temperatures. To ensure that your canola oil stays fresh for longer, store it correctly, only cook with it at the optimal temperature, and dispose of oil that has been exposed to heat or has gone rancid.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the health benefits of canola oil without compromising its quality.

Reason 3: Moisture

Canola oil has become a popular cooking ingredient worldwide due to its numerous health benefits. It is rich in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, making it a great alternative to animal fats.

However, just like any other edible oil, canola oil can go bad, reducing its quality, and even posing a health risk if consumed.

One of the main factors that can contribute to the spoilage of canola oil is moisture.

Explanation Of How Moisture Affects Canola Oil

Canola oil can easily absorb moisture in the air, causing it to undergo hydrolysis. The hydrolysis reaction causes the fatty acids in the oil to break down, resulting in free fatty acids that can produce an unpleasant smell and taste.

The moisture can also promote the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus, contributing to rancidity.

Examples Of Moisture Exposure

There are several common ways that canola oil can be exposed to moisture, including:

  • Leaving the bottle open or not sealing it properly
  • Storing the oil in a humid or damp area, such as near a sink or in a basement
  • Using a wet spoon or utensil to scoop the oil out of the bottle
  • Using old or wet oil that has been previously used for cooking

Prevention Tips

Here are some effective tips to keep canola oil from being exposed to moisture and prolonging its shelf life:

  • Always store canola oil in a cool, dry, and dark place such as a pantry or cupboard away from sunlight or heat sources.
  • Make sure to seal the bottle or container tightly after each use.
  • Avoid using a wet spoon or utensil when measuring the oil.
  • Only use fresh oil, and do not mix used oil with new oil.
  • Always check the expiration date on the bottle before using the oil.

Moisture is a critical factor that affects the quality and shelf life of canola oil. By following the preventive tips, you can ensure your canola oil stays fresh, and enhance its flavor and nutritional benefits in your cooking.

Reason 4: Light Exposure

Explanation Of How Light Exposure Affects Canola Oil

Light exposure can negatively affect the quality of canola oil over time. When canola oil is exposed to light, it can undergo a photochemical reaction that causes it to break down and oxidize. This can result in rancidity, loss of flavor, and a decrease in nutritional value.

This is because the fatty acids in the oil are more prone to oxidation when exposed to light, leading to the creation of harmful compounds.

Examples Of Light Exposure

There are several ways in which canola oil can be exposed to light, including:

  • Storage in clear or translucent containers
  • Display on store shelves in bright light
  • Exposure to direct sunlight
  • Keeping canola oil in poorly lit areas or under inadequate lighting

These factors can all lead to prolonged exposure to light, which can cause the oil to deteriorate more quickly.

Prevention Tips

To prevent light exposure from damaging canola oil, consider following these tips:

  • Store canola oil in dark, opaque containers, preferably in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry
  • Purchase canola oil in dark bottles or cans to decrease light exposure
  • Keep canola oil away from direct sunlight or other sources of light
  • Use canola oil within its recommended shelf life to avoid prolonged exposure to light

By following these tips, you can help preserve the quality of your canola oil for longer periods.

Reason 5: Age Of Canola Oil

Canola oil is a common kitchen staple used for frying, baking, and sautéing due to its high smoke point and neutral flavor.

However, just like any other oil, canola oil has a limited lifespan and can go bad over time, leading to rancidity and an off-putting taste and odor.

Let’s take a closer look at the fifth reason why canola oil goes bad – the age of the oil.

Explanation Of How Canola Oil Ages

Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed plant seeds using a mechanical or chemical process. The process removes impurities and leaves a clear, light-colored oil with a neutral taste. However, over time, the oil can change due to exposure to air, light, heat, and moisture.

The oil’s oxidative stability decreases, causing it to break down and form free fatty acids, peroxides, and other compounds, leading to rancidity.

How Age Affects The Lifespan Of Canola Oil

The age of the canola oil plays a critical role in its lifespan. As the oil gets older, it becomes more susceptible to oxidation and rancidity. Thus it is recommended to use the canola oil within six months of opening, while unopened canola oil can last up to two years.

Once the canola oil has reached its expiration date or has gone bad, it should be disposed of.

Prevention Tips

Proper storage and handling are necessary to extend the lifespan of canola oil.

Here are some tips to prevent canola oil from going bad:

  • Keep the canola oil in a cool, dark place like a pantry or a cupboard.
  • Seal the canola oil tightly after each use to prevent exposure to air.
  • Do not store canola oil in the refrigerator as it can solidify.
  • Do not use the oil if it has a bad odor or taste or has developed a cloudy appearance.
  • Purchase small quantities of canola oil as per your usage to prevent the oil from staying for a longer period.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your canola oil stays fresh for as long as possible, and your food stays healthy and delicious.

Reason 6: Contamination

Explanation Of How Contamination Occurs In Canola Oil:

Canola oil contamination can be traced back to several factors, from the cultivation practices to the processing and transportation methods.

Some of the reasons for contamination include:

  • Fertilizers and pesticides: Some of the fertilizers and pesticides used in growing canola crops may contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate the oil during processing.
  • Processing methods: The use of high heat during processing can degrade the oil and make it more susceptible to contamination by harmful bacteria and other microbes.
  • Storage practices: If canola oil is stored improperly, it can be contaminated by bacteria, fungi, or other pathogens that can thrive in warm, humid environments.

Examples Of Contamination:

Here are some of the examples of contamination that can occur in canola oil:

  • Chemical contamination: Canola oil can become contaminated by chemical residues from pesticides and fertilizers used in cultivation.
  • Microbial contamination: Bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens can contaminate canola oil during processing, storage, and transportation.
  • Heavy metals contamination: Canola oil can become contaminated by heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury that can seep into the soil and water during cultivation.

Prevention Tips:

To prevent contamination of canola oil, it’s essential to follow these tips:

  • Choose organic canola oil that is free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other harmful substances.
  • Store canola oil in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight, heat sources, and moisture.
  • Use canola oil within its expiry date and avoid using it beyond that.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices while handling and preparing food that includes canola oil.
  • Use a well-established and reliable brand that gives quality assurance.

By being aware of the causes of contamination, the examples of contamination and prevention tips, you can make sure that you use uncontaminated canola oil and keep your family safe and healthy.

Reason 7: Packaging

When it comes to canola oil, its packaging affects its lifespan. Packaging is an essential factor that can either increase or decrease the shelf life of canola oil.

Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how packaging affects the oil to avoid consuming rancid oil, which can negatively affect your health.

Explanation Of How Packaging Affects Canola Oil Lifespan

Packaging is the first line of defense against external factors that will compromise the quality of canola oil.

Here are some points explaining how canola oil’s packaging affects its lifespan:

  • Packaging protects canola oil from direct sunlight, which is harmful to unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Proper packaging helps to prevent oxidative reactions that cause breakdown in the oil and cause its rancidity.
  • The quality of packaging materials such as bottles, jars, and cans plays an essential role in the shelf life of canola oil.

Examples Of Poor Packaging

Poor packaging can have a detrimental effect on the shelf life of canola oil.

Here are some examples of poor packaging that can accelerate canola oil’s deterioration:

  • Packaging made from cheap plastic material that emits harmful chemicals into the oil
  • The bottle’s cap doesn’t seal tightly enough to keep out moisture and air that promotes oxidation and rancidity
  • Using a transparent bottle that exposes canola oil to direct sunlight

Prevention Tips

Preventing rancidity in canola oil is important for maintaining its health benefits and quality.

Here are some tips to help you ensure that your canola oil stays fresh for as long as possible:

  • Store canola oil in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Choose containers made of high-quality materials such as glass or dark-colored plastic that block out harmful uv rays.
  • Make sure the container cap seals tightly to keep moisture and air out.
  • Always check the expiry date before purchasing canola oil to ensure freshness.

The packaging is a critical factor in canola oil’s lifespan. Proper packaging protects canola oil from adverse external factors and prolongs its shelf life. Examples of poor packaging include low-quality materials, inadequate seals, and transparent packaging that exposes the oil to direct sunlight.

Follow the prevention tips above to ensure your canola oil stays fresh for as long as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions On Does Canola Oil Go Bad

Does Canola Oil Go Bad If Left Unopened?

Unopened canola oil can last up to two years if stored under proper conditions like cool and dry places. However, keeping the oil beyond that duration may lead to spoilage, rancidity, and unpleasant odor.

How Can I Tell If My Canola Oil Has Gone Bad?

When canola oil is exposed to air, light, or heat, the oil becomes rancid. Rancidity changes the smell and taste of the oil. You can determine if the oil has spoilt by smelling it; it has a stale, rancid aroma.

Does Refrigerating Canola Oil Extend Its Shelf Life?

Yes, refrigerating canola oil can extend its shelf life and prevent spoilage. Ensure you store the oil in an airtight container to prevent moisture from seeping in and causing rancidity.

What Happens When I Use Expired Canola Oil?

Expired canola oil can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Consuming rancid oil lowers the oil’s nutritional value and is harmful to your health.

How Do I Store Canola Oil Properly?

To prolong the shelf life of canola oil, store it in a cool, dry, and dark area. Avoid exposure to light and heat. The oil should be stored in an airtight container because exposure to air can quicken the rancidity process.


After going through this article, it is evident that canola oil, like any other edible oil, has a lifespan, and it does go bad if not stored properly. It is crucial to ensure that your canola oil is of high quality and free from contaminants before making a purchase.

To extend its lifespan, it is vital to store it correctly and avoid exposing it to heat, light, and air. Also, always check the expiration dates and discard any oil that has exceeded it.

Lastly, it is crucial to note that rancid canola oil is not suitable for consumption as it can cause adverse health effects, including heart diseases and cancer.

Always prioritize your health by ensuring that the canola oil you use is fresh, high-quality, and stored correctly to enjoy its many benefits while staying healthy.

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