Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids? Monsanto's Got 'Em

Soybeans

Despite the recent news that Whole Foods Market will require labeling of all foods containing GMOs, Monsanto has developed a genetically modified soybean that will produce a “healthy” oil rich in a certain omega-3 fatty acid called stearindonic acid (SDA).

The company DSM will license the GMO soybeans from Monsanto and control the branding rights of the soybeans to the food industry, touting the healthy benefits of SDA-rich soy. Monsanto will still work with its farmer clients to sell the soy seeds.

SDA is more effective in helping the body convert the soy omega-fatty acid into the much-needed EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which plays a role in proper cardiovascular function.

According to FoodNavigator.com, Monsanto developed the SDA-rich beans by including the genes from a flower and a red bread mold. The company says the new healthy soybean oil is a good candidate for use in dressings, sauces, marinades, margarines, spreads and baked goods, as well as soups, snack products and some processed dairy items. But don’t expect to see it picked up for use by brands wanting to steer clear of Whole Foods mandatory labeling requirements.

Monsanto’s SDA program director, Federico Tripodi told FoodNavigator, “SDA omega-3 soybean oil would provide a sustainable way for consumers to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain heart health.

“Food companies are looking for solutions to deliver the benefits of longer chain omega-3s while maintaining flavor over the shelf-life of the product.”

A DSM representative also told FoodNavigator that the SDA-rich soybean offers a vegetarian and sustainable source of long-chain omega-3s, but with all the anti-GMO sentiment afloat, it’s questionable whether or not consumers will embrace the product.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: Kanko

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. Twitter @jillettinger | www.jillettinger.com.