Our friends at Monsanto have been busy genetically engineering a new version of their GM soybean. This one will be healthier for the consumer as it is engineered to produce oil that is lower in saturated fat than “real” soybeans.
The soybean industry has suffered a drop in demand for edible soybeans since 2005 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring labels that list the amount of trans fats. When the soybean oil is refined and hydrogenated, it creates unhealthy trans fats.
As you probably know, conventional medical associations finally recognize that trans fats are associated with coronary heart disease, but they still have not acknowledged that saturated fat is innocent. As real foodies know, saturated fat from grass fed animals is a necessary component of a healthy diet.
This new soybean product, called Vistive Gold, has been approved by the FDA and is awaiting approval by the USDA.
The soybean industry suffered a drop in their share of the food oil market from 83% to 68% when the labeling requirements were enacted. Over a three year period 4.6 billion pounds of edible soybean oil was turned into biodiesel instead of food. Farmers get less money for biodiesel.
The industry is ecstatic over this new product as it can command more money per bushel and it may be marketed as being healthier. Other genetically modified soybeans were engineered to be resistant to pesticides and disease. This is the first engineered product to be thought (or will be marketed) as healthier.
Joe Cornelius, a Monsanto project manager who has worked on the Vistive soybeans for the past 15 years said it could produce french fries with 60% less saturated fat. They are constantly on the saturated fat is bad bandwagon. I just shudder thinking about the potential problems with this new “product” in fast food deep fryers under high heat, creating free radicals and highly toxic byproducts in those wonderful french fries…
Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety said,
Vistive Gold and other engineered crops don’t face rigorous enough testing. No animal feeding trials were conducted on the new soybean to see what would happen when it was consumed… the FDA approved it based on the agency’s review of a similar soybean produced by another company, not an actual review of Vistive Gold… that struck me as very odd.
Without proper scrutiny, genetically modified crops have a high potential for harmful and unintended consequences, such as increased toxicity that could make someone sick or decreased nutritional content.
Not every genetically modified crop is going to be dangerous. The bottom line is we need to have a really stringent regulatory system, which we currently don’t have.
Monsanto said it tested Vistive Gold extensively and found it to be safe. Right.
Who are you going to believe? Leave a comment and let me know!