Monsanto soybean trait for lower saturated fat gets USDA deregulation

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Trans fat

Monsanto soybean trait for lower saturated fat gets USDA deregulation
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has deregulated the biotech trait in Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans, allowing the production of low saturated- and trans-fat oils from the beans within the United States.

The agricultural giant’s Vistive Gold soybeans provide oil high in monounsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fat, containing about 60% less than conventional soybean oils. Soybeans are generally high in linolenic acid, which reduces the shelf life and stability of products made from soybean oil. To overcome this problem, soybean oil is often partially hydrogenated to reduce linolenic acid levels. But this in turn produces artery-clogging trans fatty acids.

Monsanto already has low-linolenic soybean oils on the market under its Vistive brand – KFC and Kellogg’s have both used Vistive to slash trans fats from their products – but the company claims that its new generation traits confer “significantly extended fry life” ​and are more stable at high temperatures than either existing Vistive oils or conventional soybean oils.

Monsanto global technology lead for food quality traits Joe Cornelius said: “With the availability of Vistive Gold soybeans, farmers will soon be able to deliver an economical and sustainable source of nutritionally improved soybean oil to consumers and food companies.

“Vistive Gold soybeans are a breakthrough innovation that represent years of collaboration across the food supply chain. Monsanto worked closely with the food industry, health and nutrition communities and agricultural sector to bring a biotechnology trait with direct consumer benefit. The result, Vistive Gold soybeans, is one step closer to reality with the recent USDA deregulation.”

The USDA deregulation of the MON 87705 trait means that field testing and seed production can take place in United States, under strict guidelines until export markets provide regulatory approvals, according to the company. The deregulation completes the regulatory process in the United States, and the trait has also been approved in Canada.

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.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter of no objection the soybeans were generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in May 2010, enabling food makers to test the soy oil.

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We will never know

Posted by Phil Roberts (retired Unilever Supply Manager),

I have argued for many years (at least 10+) that it is only when consumer benefits are obvious from GM food that consumers in Europe will buy in.

However, I am not convinced there is a marketing story here because there seems to be a plethora of low sat low trans alternatives already on the market and all this does is replace existing ones with new more profitable ones.

Innovation is about something new - not about replacing of the old

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GRAS don't mean Natural!

Posted by Elisabeth Walker,

Jennifer, I'm not arguing with your feelings about this issue but "GRAS" does *NOT* mean "as Nature created". I invite you to go to the FDA's inventory of GRAS notices: where you will see all kinds of substances, some natural in origin, some created any number of ways. The applicants' justification as "GRAS" and FDA's conclusion that they don't immediately foresee an issue with it (that's all it is) is NOT based on the "natural" status of the thing. And what is "natural"? That's another question...

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"GRAS" means "as Nature created", NOT biotech!

Posted by Jennifer Christiano,

Fantastic - yet ANOTHER Monsanto monster let loose on struggling farmers and the planet!
A "shorter shelf life" for soybean oil isn't really the problem. Too many processed foods, too many subsidies that concentrate the growing of foodstuffs into limited geographic areas, and too few small farmers making local foods available, are genuine problems that fouled-up soybean oils are supposed to "solve". They don't.
I'm glad that I already don't eat from KFC or Kraft. But soon there will be absolutely no way to fully protect one's body from GE penetration. This is the biggest, most threatening invasion of privacy and erosion of freedom of choice in history, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats give a damn! All they see are dollar signs. Not that I object in any way to making a profit - I object to the philosophy that the value of life itself can, or should, be measured in dollars and cents.

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