Functionality of Specialty Oilseeds Featured at NCI’s Flax and Canola Short Course

April 29, 2010

Functionality of Specialty Oilseeds Featured at NCI’s Flax and Canola Short Course

Fargo, N.D., USA –  Flax and canola are gaining recognition with the nation’s consumers, due to their nutritional and health benefits.  These oilseeds are featured at the “Functionality of Canola and Flaxseed in Food Systems” Short Course at Northern Crops Institute (NCI) that runs from April 27-29.  Food processors from companies in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota are attending the course.

“Flaxseed and canola are both specialty oilseeds that are principally produced in North Dakota,” says Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., NCI Technical Director.  “North Dakota raises about 93% of the total U.S. flax and canola crops.  Therefore, it is important to our producers that we offer this course to promote the crops.  The course will focus on bakery formulas where we use milled flax and canola together.”

The short course is co-sponsored by AmeriFlax, the trade organization that represents North Dakota flax producers, and the Northern Canola Growers Association, which works to promote the use of canola.  The U.S. uses most of its domestically grown flax and canola. About 15% of the crop is exported to the European Union and Mexico. 

“AmeriFlax realizes the importance of getting the health and product utilization message for flax out to consumers, and it all starts with food research,” says Sheri Coleman, Executive Director of AmeriFlax. “With today’s emphasis on health, omega-3’s, and fiber, it is important that the work such as what is being done at NCI reach those important individuals. This short course is a valuable tool to show upcoming trends with flax and new and innovative ways of using flax in food products.”

“Consumers today care about what they eat,” says Barry Coleman, Executive Director, Northern Canola Growers Association. “Canola is the healthiest oil in today’s market, bringing not only a healthy fatty acid profile but its versatility as well.  At this year’s NCI short course, attendees are learning first-hand the ease, health and versatility of canola oil. The course demonstrates a hands-on approach in looking at future products for consumers as well as improving the health of current food products,” he concludes.

Course topics highlight nutritional benefits of flaxseed and canola; flaxseed production and quality; milling of flaxseed; flaxseed in dairy products; use of flaxseed in pasta and extruded snack products; canola production and quality; quality evaluation of canola oil; baking with flaxseed and canola oil: pan, hearth, and flat breads; use of canola oil in dairy and margarine products; sensory properties of flaxseed and canola oil fortified products; and shelf life stability and evaluation.  Participants also gain hands-on experience in NCI’s grain grading, analytical, baking, and processing laboratories. 

Course speakers and lab technicians include: Rachel Brudvik, NCI Food Technologist; Sheri Coleman, Executive Director, Ameriflax; Barry Coleman, Executive Director, Northern Canola Growers Association; Clifford Hall III, Ph.D., North Dakota State University (NDSU) Dept. of Cereal and Food Sciences; Thunyaporn Jeradechachai, NCI Crop Quality Specialist; Hans Kandel, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Plant Sciences; Frank Manthey, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Plant Sciences; Rilie Morgan, NCI Processing Specialist; Susan Raatz, Ph.D., Research Nutritionist, USDA-ARS Human Research Center; Brian Sorenson, NCI Director; and Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., NCI Technical Director.