Vegetable Oil Without Explanation

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

When Ashley and I were recently in Canada, we came across something that is very rare in the United States. We were reading through ingredient labels in the grocery store and we found products that contained vegetable oil, but no specific type of oil was listed. Instead of any specifics, the ingredient list just said “vegetable oil”. While this practice is technically allowed because allergen restrictions/labeling requirements exclude highly refined oils (including soybean oil), it isn’t very helpful in identifying the presence of soybean oil. 

 IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

In the US, the more common scenario is for the product labeling to say vegetable oil while the ingredient list specifies the oil used (most often soybean oil). For example, oil labeled as “vegetable oil” in a US grocery store always has an ingredient list that specifies that it is soybean oil. Specifying only “vegetable oil” on the ingredient list was a little more vague and we were surprised by the amount of food in Canada that generically listed “vegetable oil” as an ingredient.

We didn’t eat any food that listed vegetable oil as an ingredient since we didn’t want to risk the chance that it could contain soy (as with any unknown food, when in doubt we avoid it), but there is a chance that the food was okay. Ultimately, since soybean oil was pretty common in other, similar foods, and our need to eat “vegetable oil” containing food wasn’t pressing, we chose other foods rather than attempting to figure out if the vegetable oil was soybean oil or not.