The company said completion of the consultation process is a significant first step toward commercialization of Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans, which are low in trans and saturated fats, enabling food manufacturers to improve the health profile of foods made with soybean oil. The crop represents one of the first to be developed through a combination of biotechnology and traditional breeding methods to provide health benefits for consumers.
Monsanto’s global technology lead for food quality traits Joe Cornelius said that the product has been developed with input from the food and nutrition industry. The soybeans have 60 percent less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil, and 70 percent less saturated fat than fry shortening, the company said.
“Vistive Gold soybeans will give farmers an opportunity to produce nutritionally improved soybean oil for food companies and consumers,” Cornelius said. “Monsanto is continuing to provide innovations to the soybean oil market and help growers create additional value within the food supply chain.”
The Vistive Gold soybeans will be combined with the company’s Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, to increase yield for farmers, as well as providing nutritionally improved oil.
Trans fat substitution
There is a large body of evidence suggesting that trans fatty acids raise levels of LDL-cholesterol (so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol) and reduce levels of HDL-cholesterol (or ‘good’ cholesterol, and can influence other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This has led to trans fat bans in many parts of the United States.
In the food industry this has been mirrored by an increase the in pressure on manufacturers to eliminate trans fat from their products. But food manufacturers have faced a number of technical difficulties in removing trans fat from their products, and some have expressed concern that trans fats could end up being replaced by saturated fats, which are nearly as unhealthy as the fats they replace, prompting companies to look for healthier replacements.
Trans fats formed by partial hydrogenation of vegetable oil are attractive to the food industry due to their extended shelf life, flavor and heat stability, and have displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas of food processing.
“Food companies continue to look for ways to eliminate trans fats and reduce saturated fat, and Vistive Gold soybean oil is an excellent option that is more economical, sustainable and nutritionally desirable than current solutions,” Cornelius said.
Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans are subject to a number of further regulatory hurdles with both the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture before they can be fully commercialized.