Q. Rapeseed oil is extracted from rapeseeds. In the past, rapeseed oil had a bitter taste. In recent years, a mild variety of rapeseed was cultivated and the less bitter extracted-oil became known as canola oil. Is rapeseed oil considered kitniyos?
A. The Sochatchover Rebbi, Rav Avrohom Borenstein (1838-1910) addresses this issue (Avnei Nezer, OC 533). He rules that rapeseed oil is kitniyos (despite the fact that it has a bitter taste) because rapeseeds grow in pods and are part of the mustard family which the Rama (OC 453:1) identifies as kitniyos. Thus it is clear that canola oil is kitniyos as well.
Although the conclusion of the Avnei Nezer is to permit kitniyos oil for reasons that are beyond the scope of this Halacha Yomis, the OU follows the position of many other poskim who do not sanction kitniyos oils under any circumstances. Therefore, the OU does not certify canola oil for Pesach. For a complete listing of kitniyos items please see https://oukosher.org/passover/guidelines/food-items/kitniyot-list/
This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.