Monday, December 7, 2009


Soybean oil is never considered a good frying oil, especially for repeated frying use, because of its tendency to oxidize and polymerize which often produces stickiness and fish odor in the end product. The claim by the GM seeds giant, Monsanto Chemicals that it has developed a special soybean seed that can yield oil with "superior" cooking quality, deserves some scrutiny. According to the developer of this line of soy, the oil extracted is more "stable", can "withstand" higher temperature, needs no "hydrogenation" contains "less saturated" fat and zero "trans fats". It is also contended that the oil from the new seed is more "healthy"

"Vistive III is a win for farmers, food producers and consumers," said Jerry Hjelle, vice president of regulatory for Monsanto. "This provides a glimpse into the next-generation of biotech 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 the oil once it's commercialized. And food producers should benefit from a more stable and more healthful soybean oil to use in its food products"

What is amusing in these claims is that soy oil is already known to be an healthy oil about which there are no disputes. Also trans fats are produced generally during hydrogenation and no native oil has been blamed on this account, making the claim of zero trans fats ring hollow. How the oil becomes more stable in spite of higher content of unsaturated fats is also a mystery. Probably the developer may have to reveal the scientific basis for these claims before industry and the consumer can "swallow" them

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