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Mustard oil - is it safe eat and cook with?

suepea Jan 28, 2012 05:44 AM

My husband bought some mustard oil online through Amazon (an Indian product, Laxmi brand) for a recipe; as he was searching he noticed some descriptions saying "recommended for external use only" so he took care to find a brand that was meant for human consumption. Well the order arrived, and guess what, it states "recommended for externaluse only" - but the weird thing is that the description on the bottle (and on Amazon) extols the virtues of the "flavor" "purity" etc. etc. as though this oil IS meant to cook with. Some research suggests this warning about being for external use only is due to lack of FDA approval for mustard oil in the US, and "wink wink" it is OK to cook with. Thoughts? OK to go ahead and use this with food?

  1. steinpilz Jan 28, 2012 06:51 AM

    If you find any "strong" mustard oil please post where you found it. I went to the Indian place in Central Square recently looking for mustard oil after the Times article. The owner directed me to a sort of blue and white striped bottle, which I know is good but not very strong, but I chose the one saying "pure mustard oil" - it definitely was not, very little mustard flavour and lingering doubts about what sort of oil it really is.

    A while ago, back in the 80s, I innocently bought the "massage" form of mustard oil and used it for cooking - extremely potent, just a drop or two was plenty for most uses. An Indian friend mentioned that it might be unhealthy but I thought it was great!

    2 Replies
    1. re: steinpilz
      suepea Jan 28, 2012 11:13 AM

      FWIW... We decided to use the Laxmi mustard oil (that we bought through Amazon) in a cranberry mostardo. It was not as strong as we anticipated, but we have no frame of reference for judging its strength. Good luck!

      1. re: suepea
        almansa Jan 28, 2012 02:36 PM

        It's my personal favorite brand.

    2. g
      grant.cook Jan 28, 2012 05:56 AM

      Well, its used for cooking a lot in India. I think some studies showed risk of toxicity in rates, but later work found that rats' digestive systems didn't handle oils as well as ours do..

      Frankly, I just think the FDA is content to leave things as they are, and few are going to carry a big battle flag to get it approved for culinary use (although look at the article below - a lot of chefs use it)..


      1 Reply
      1. re: grant.cook
        suepea Jan 28, 2012 11:05 AM

        Thanks Grant, the NYT article is REALLY helpful. I think we'll use our oil.

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