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The Awful Truth About Cottonseed Oil

Slowly a cheaper cost cotton-gin-trash-based vegetable oil has been slipping into more and more food products unknown to most persons that should raise some serious health and consumer concerns.

Cottonseed oil is exactly what it says it is; oil made from the cottonseed. However few in the public realize that until a serious toxin in the oil, gossypol is removed, that cottonseed oil is actually so toxic that it is often used as a pesticide. Further since cotton crops are under far less chemical regulation that other other crops used specifically for food, many pesticides or chemicals can be used on cotton crops that are illegal for use on food crops, yet the cottonseed can find it's way into the food chain because of this major legal loophole in the regulation of food and chemicals by the FDA. Some serious pesticides or chemicals could resist processing and find their way into the food chain because of this.

It is often products such as potato chips or snack crackers where cottonseed oil is turning up most often, however more and more consumers need to be wary of cottonseed oil being substituted for far more healthy oils such as soybean, canola or sunflower oil in many cheaper cost food products. Generally if a consumer sticks with health food store brands of snacks or other products, cottonseed oil is never present in such premium quality foods, unlike cheaper foods where this cheap oil is growing more and more common.

Regardless of the chemical, pesticide or toxic concerns related to cottonseed oil, there are other serious health concerns for consumers to be wary of as well. Cottonseed oil contains over 50% in Omega-6 fatty acids, which should raise health concerns if a person consumes this oil in large amounts.

And further if a person is allergic to peanuts for example, cotttonseed oil is so similiar in it's protein structure that a person may have a serious allergic reaction to cottonseed oil as well. Yet so far the FDA does not require allergy labeling of this product that is so similar to peanuts. This is a serious health concern. Peanut allergies can be fatal to some persons, and some similar products with similar protein structures could also create a life-threatening allergy reaction as well.

As the American textile industry has declined to overseas markets, the American cotton industry has sought new uses for their crops including the use of some gin-trash as cattle feed as well as the increased use of cottonseed oil in human food products. However, for many persons concerned about food allergies or the toxin background or the high level of Omega-6 fatty acids in cottonseed oil, this oil should be avoided and far safer and more healthy soybean, canola or sunflower oils used. Further the FDA should move in the direction of requiring clear labels on products containing cottonseed oil to help prevent serious allergy reactions that could even be fatal to some persons.

Cottonseed oil has it's own lobby and promotion organization known as the National Cottonseed Products Association, and on the organization website, not one a single one of the human health or allergy concerns are mentioned, only the potential benefits of the product. Cotton related products certainly have an important place in many products, but many persons should be also concerned whether they want cotton products in their diet as well.

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Comments (5)

RS Martin:

I went on a gluten and dairy free diet almost a year ago. I found that I was still becoming ill when I ate certain foods, chips, peanut butter and others. I narrowed it down to cottonseed oil!

Steve M:

I recently (11 months ago) went on a gluten and dairy free diet due to allergen problems. I was amazed to find that any product containing cottonseed oil made me just as ill as the gluten or lactose in dairy. Cotton is not food!


I am severely allergic to cottonseed oil and it is progressively getting worse. I get severe swelling in my mouth and lymph system. This oil is scary and should not be used in food at all! I don't feed my family anything containing this crap.

I have the same allergy problems with cottonseed oil, Christine. I feel for you. I really hope that the FDA will someday force clear product labeling of this poor choice for an oil, although I would really favor a ban on the use in food products, restricting cotton products to nonfood uses only.

Patrick Bannerman:

I thought I was the only one who was allergic to cottonseed oil.It all started with small hives and has now moved to closing of the air passage.It is a very dangerous oil. I have been to 2 allergist and they were very sceptical about it in the begining but after watching and keeping a diary of all the food eaten anytime I had a reaction it was the one common factor.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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