Mamta's Kitchen

Forum Thread - mustard oil & its use

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Charley, on 25/8/2005 03:27pm

I have just discovered a mustard oil produced in Australia called Yandilla which is organic and low in erucic acid. It seems it would satisfy the EU guidlines, but it is not, as far as I can tell, imported into the UK. There is a website,, and I would urge those interested to prod them into exporting to the UK if possible.

There is presently a mustard oil crisis in Mumbai I believe, where many people have been poisoned due to massive amounts of additives and mustard oil has reluctantly been withdrawn from sale. All of this makes me inclined to take the "external use only" warning seriously.

Shalini, on 25/8/2005 10:14pm

Yes, Charley is quite correct. There is the Yandilla brand here in Australia and they make absolutely fantastic Mustard Oil and other mutsard products. I have been using their oil for a number of years now for my pickles and have had no problems. The packaging does not say for external use only.

They do have a website and I think they do do overseas orders. It's not readily available in supermarkets here and I have to order by phone to get it delivered to my home. Some years ago it was available at Woolworths but has now been taken off the shelves probably because of the debate on whether it is safe for cooking.

Kavita, on 26/8/2005 09:36am

Just to let you know, mum's not ignoring the thread, she's away and will no doubt post when she gets back...

Mamta, on 4/9/2005 03:16pm

Well, we had a big discussion about this topic on the last forum and once on BBC message food boards. I (and most of my Indian friends) have used mustard oil in cooking/pickling for a very long time, without any ill effects. We use the one that says 100% mustard oi. I hope that the Australian one, or something similar, will be available here one day!

The problems of some unscrupulous person adding something poisonous to food/oil in India occurs from time to time. They do this to increase their profits, with no regards to others welfare. It is very dad, but true. Mostly poor people die, because they can not afford the best quality goods.

I know that many people in India buy oil from people who extract oil on the spot, while you wait, without any chance of adulteration. Oil of well recognised brands, when bought in sealed bottles, is also quite safe and used in cooking extensively in India.

I guess that everyone has to make up their own choice, with the facts/available to them.


Medical Scientis, on 10/10/2005 08:30pm

An additional note regarding the erucic acid in mustard oils: The toxicity data of erucic acid in the studies that were used by the EU to classify this oil as non-edible was highly questionable. The studies used a specific type of rat which were already susceptible to myocardial lipidosis. Furthermore, rats do not metabolize erucic acid well. Pig data showed higher tolerance and the human epidemiological data (i.e real data on people) did not show significant lipidosis. Indeed, the autopsy of people who had died from other causes from parts of India with both high and low erucic acid consumption, did not show the heart problems that rats did in a highly artificial study. The correlation of rat to humans is not very high, hence caution should be exercised. This is not to say that all rat studies on all drugs/foods are false but one should take a case by case approach. Ultimately in this case, we have long term human data; large numbers of people (millions) consuming the oil over thousands of years with no apparent ill effects traceable to erucic acid as such. Surprisingly, the authors of many studies affirm this but still conclude (for legal reasons) that an ultra low erucic acid diet is preferable just to be safe. A hundred good counter studies are now needed to overcome a few bad ones predicated on self interest rather than good science.

Here is my bottom line; No food is perfect, toxins are found in almost everything. Over evolutionary time, our liver has adapted to this variety. Eat a balanced diet, with all foods in sensible quantities. (Oils should have variety too). Even exercise should be moderated with rest. If you have a specific metabolic disease (diabetes, hyperlipidemia, Celiac-gluten sensitivity etc. then more specific changes are needed). Also as Mamta has said, always buy established brand names unless you live in parts of India where you can personally witness/verify oils being pressed. The final choice as in most matters, is yours....

P.S: I like all mustard products including the related wasabi etc.

Kavey, on 11/10/2005 10:13am

Thanks, Scientist, for your input.

I think you're right that the evidence of thousands of years of actual use has been overlooked in favour of a few small and not overly robust studies.

As with everything, common sense and an evaluation of multiple sources of information is usually most useful.

PS I thought wasabi was horseradish not mustard?

Medical Scientis, on 12/10/2005 07:45pm

A clarification on the relationship of mustard and horseradish; you are right in a direct sense but what I meant to say is that they all belong to the same biological family and produce allyl and crotyl isothiocyanates in varying amounts which gives it the sharp taste. Cabbage is also a member of this family. The twist is that, these isothiocyanates are good for you in small quantities but as usual, corrosive to the gullet in large amounts, ie, a large chunk of wasabi consumed for the "burn" that some enjoy. Some of my college mates used to do this as a sort of crazy competition and then suffer for a day afterwards.

An interesting side comment: This chemical defense is an evolutionary trait that plants have as a protection from being over-eaten by herbivores. In a similar manner, hot chilles produce capsaicin. Capsaicin produces a different sort of effect but can be consumed (if you can tolerate it) in larger quantities without ill effects. This lower toxicity has a good chemical explanation but I wont go into it here. Indeed, the earlier speculation that stomach ulcers were caused by hot chillies has been throughly debunked since conclusive evidence of a bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori) has been found. This years Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the two physicians from Australia who did the work.


Pam Allott, on 5/11/2005 06:34pm

Can anyone advise on a reasonable alternative to mustard oil for cooking?

Mamta, on 6/11/2005 09:31am

Hello Pam

I think that the nearest oil to mustard oil will be rape seed oil.

Rape seed is Brassica napus and the black mustard seed, the mustard that is used for making mustard oil, isBrassica nigra. Both plants look the same.

When I don't have mustard oil, I use any good cooking oil. However, for Indian pickles, mustard oil is usually preferred.

Hope this helps! I am back in UK tomorrow (I am in Delhi right now) and will see if I can find it in any of my books.



Mamta, on 9/11/2005 05:02am

Hi Mamta

Just wanted to thank you for your prompt reply to my query on this thread. I've tried to post my thanks on the website but for some reason, it doesn't work.

Again - many thanks!

Kind regards

Pam Allott

Vickie, on 21/11/2005 07:32am

Hey, to all of you, and to Mamta to, THANKS for the information on the mustard oil. I had been reading about Indian cooking in a book by Bharti Kirchner, and, as she is a Bengali, she said something like, "use Mustard oil or your cooking will have no flavor." Something like that.

Anyway, I bought a bottle from an Indian market in Tampa, only to be

really pretty "floored" when I got home and inspected the bottle and it read, "For External Use Only."

Well, that didn't fan the flames of my passion for Indian cooking, so everytime I stopped at a market somewhere, I'd check the bottles of mustard oil and they all said the same thing: For External Use Only.

So, I continued to use peanut oil. I will have to try that rapeseed oil Mamta suggested using.

FYI, I did eventually find a bottle that was bottled in the USA (didn't get the brand). It did not say "external use only." Turns out it was a mixture of soybean and mustard, that's probably why. But I really appreciated the information; was a big MYSTERY and I never did have a chance to write

to Bharti and ask her.

jamie barlow, on 24/10/2006 06:20pm

leukodystrophies like adrenoleukodystrophy and adrenomyeloneuropathy usr this oil to lower our vlcfa's.

we do drink it it is safe for us.

[email protected]

Albert, on 10/12/2007 08:28am

I was most interested in reading the replies on the subject of mustard seed oil. It appears that most people trying to source this oil for cooking, are only finding the ones that state "for external use only". This is due to the high levels of erucic acid that is found in the Indian produced oil.

FYI, I found an Australian brand that is free of erucic acid and is permitted by the USFDA for sale as a cooking oil in the US. I now regulary use this oil in all cooking. It's also lowest in saturated fat content of any oil.

If your readers really want a safe oil they should try it, their website is I'm sure that this will be great news for those looking for a safe mustard seed oil.

Charley, on 15/2/2008 05:13pm

I posted quite a long time ago in regard to why mustard oil is labeled "external use only" and recommended Yandilla organic mustard oil from from Australia. There was indeed a rash of poisonings in Mumbai back then, but there was a view that that event, and the government response, were greatly exaggerated due to pressure from American companies trying to replace mustard oil with their own products.

True or not, here is the problem with mustard oil: Because it is EU-designated external use only, it is therefore exempt from shipping regulations that would apply to foods. Thus, it can be shipped in a container truck that had previously contained, say, motor oil, or even something worse. This probably was the cause of the poisonings, because people have been consuming mustard oil for millennia without ill effect despite the current EU designation – which seems to be causing greater problems than it is trying to save us from. I still urge everyone to try to get Yandilla organic imported by retailers, but,yes, one can order it from Australia at great expense.

tim, on 25/2/2008 05:56pm

Interesting to see the suggested sub - Rapeseed Oil.

Only recently hooked on this, mainly because I found a local producer on the net who does an excellent packaging. And now much prefer its nutty flavour to the various bitter, peppery or whathaveyou Olive Oils.

Buy British!!

Mamta, on 25/2/2008 06:01pm

hello Tim

All vegetable oil at Sainsbury's is rapeseed oil I think. Mustard oil has a distinctive taste, which can not be replaced by other oils.

tim, on 28/2/2008 07:49pm

I accept that, Mamta - was just quoting you - "Hello Pam - I think that the nearest oil to mustard oil will be rape seed oil".

Do commercial makers use Mustard??

Mamta, on 28/2/2008 08:54pm

Hello Tim

Most Indian pickles were traditionally made with mustard oil. I have not checked on jar labels recently, so not sure if commercial makers still use it. I think they do. I am in Madeira at present, have a look at some of your jars.

Most people from Bengal and Bihar regions (where you were posted) use a lot of mustard oil for cooking everything. We North Indians use it mainly for pickels and dry vegetable bhajies.


tim, on 29/2/2008 01:05pm

Enjoy your 'hols'!!

Askcy, on 1/3/2008 05:09pm

I've just had a quick look on Spices of India who are recommended by this site and they have mustard oil (Dabur) for sale (from India) and its marked as "for external use only". It then does go on to say that all mustard oil sold in the EU has to be marked for external use only and gives a link to read.

My thought would be why not add some mustard seeds to another oil?.. maybe like you do to flavour olive oil for dressings etc, just fill an empty bottle up with mustard seeds and then top up with olive oil/sunflower oil and leave it for a dew weeks ?


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