F.D.A. clears soybean oil’s GRAS status

by Jeff Gelski
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ST. LOUIS — The Monsanto Co. has received a letter in which the Food and Drug Administration said it had no questions about the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of oil from Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans, the company said May 18. The GRAS status enables food companies to develop and test foods containing the soybean oil that is free of trans fat, reduced in saturated fat and offers increased stability for frying and baking applications.

Monsanto is seeking food application partnerships with companies.

“I get really excited about the possibility of growing soybeans like Vistive Gold,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, vice-chairman of Qualisoy and a soybean farmer from Nebraska. “Oil from these beans can help food companies meet their reduced trans and saturated fat goals. It’s also got the flexibility to be used alone or with other oils to optimize cost and taste.”

On Oct. 14, 2009, Monsanto had sent a GRAS notice to the F.D.A. for oil from Vistive Gold soybeans for use as a food ingredient for frying and spraying applications in a variety of food products, including meat, poultry, and fish dishes (commercial and restaurant), fried eggs (commercial and restaurant), french fries, potato chips and puffs, creamy salad dressings, salty snacks, and grain mixture dishes.

For stability benefits, the soybean oil is 55% to 85% oleic acid, which is similar to other high-oleic vegetable oils such as high-oleic sunflower, high-oleic safflower and high-oleic canola as well as commercial vegetable oils such as olive oil. For its health benefits, the oil is 8% to 30% linoleic acid, less than 4% palmitic acid, less than 4% stearic acid and less than 4% linolenic acid.

“This product could offer farmers and the food industry an opportunity to help meet a growing demand for healthier foods,” said Roy Fuchs, global technology lead for oilseeds for St. Louis-based Monsanto. “Vistive Gold provides a glimpse into the next generation of soybean products that can bring direct health benefits to consumers. We also expect farmers to benefit from the premium pricing opportunity the market is likely to offer for this oil once it’s commercialized.”

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