Would You Eat Monsanto's 'Healthy' Soybean Oil?

Soybean oil

Monsanto, the Missouri-based biotech seed and chemical company, has received approval from the USDA for its newest genetically modified soybean varieties intended to produce healthier soybean oils.

More than 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. GMO soy is fed to our nation's conventionally raised livestock, and it is also widely used in much of our processed foods. Soy protein, soy lecithin, flavoring derived from soy and the more ubiquitous soybean oil are common in thousands of food items regularly found in supermarkets and restaurants.

A healthy oil in its natural state, soybean oil turns into a trans fat when hydrogenated. Trans fats are considered one of the leading causes of heart disease. Monsanto claims that its Vistive Gold soybean oil and SDA Omega 3 soybean oil will be lower in saturated fat than conventional soybean oil by as much as 60 percent. According to Monsanto's website, Vistive Gold has "85 percent less saturated fat than palm oil, 70 percent less than fry shortening and 60 percent less than conventional soybean oil." And the SDA (Stearidonic Acid)Omega-3 soybean oil, which Monsanto says could benefit the health of the consumer and address overfishing of the oceans by offering an alternative to fish that's rich in omega fatty acids.

But health experts like Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety say there are reasons to be concerned about Monsanto's newest crops, mainly due to the lax regulatory reviews of the safety of the soybeans, which are using a new, highly untested technology. He told the GMO Journal, "the uncertainties attending all GE crops are exacerbated by the use of a relatively new form of genetic engineering known as RNA interference (RNAi) to generate MON87705, one parent line of Vistive Gold (VG)."

Freese also points to targeted testing that was limited in its exploration of human health and environmental effects, citing that the RNAi can actually shut down other genes that may look like the target gene, which can lead to "unintended disruption of cellular metabolism," which could give rise to toxins in the plant and decrease its nutritional components. “RNAi does NOT have a history of safe use; it has been used very little in GM crops.”

Like all genetically modified crops, Monsanto's newest soybean varieties will require the excessive use of pesticides, mainly Roundup, the glyphosate chemical that's a known endocrine disruptor, which can cause a number of health problems including weight gain, fertility issues, organ failure and developmental problems.

Further complicating the issue are the widespread cases of resistant superweeds and bugs that are adapting to glyphosate applications forcing farmers to spray more frequently, and use harsher chemicals such as 2,4-D, one of the chemicals used in Agent Orange.

Freese says that consumers are "completely in the dark as to unintended effects" of Monsanto's newest oil varieties. Consumers should do their best to avoid it, opting instead for organic oils that are free of genetically modified ingredients.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Resource: http://gmo-journal.com/index.php/2012/05/17/monsantos-vistive-gold-soybean-oil-concerns-persist/

Image: star5112

By Jill Ettinger| August 30, 2012
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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