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Kellogg Replaces Trans Fat With Genetically Modified Soybean Oil

Web Note: Non-genetically engineered low-linolenic soybeans are also on the
market. Critics point out that Monsanto developed their low-linolenic
soybean variety without gene-splicing and then arbitrarily added this trait
to herbicide-resistant GE variety, essentially forcing their customers to
buy a GE seed in order to get its low-linolenic variety.

Kellogg Replaces Trans Fat With Genetically Modified Soybean Oil

By Katrina Woznicki, MedPage Today Staff Writer
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Assistant Professor of Medicine, University
of California, San Francisco
December 13, 2005

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Dec. 13 - Kellogg has announced that it will limit the
trans-fatty acids in some of its popular snack foods, replacing the trans
fats with a soybean oil genetically modified to be more heart-healthy.
Kellogg will start using a soybean oil called Vistive, introduced last year
and made by Monsanto of St. Louis. Vistive is low in linolenic acid and
reduces the need for partial hydrogenation, a chemical process that gives
food longer shelf lives, yet produces trans fat.

Vistive will be in a number of Kellogg's convenience foods, such as Cheez-It
crackers and the breakfast pastry Pop-Tarts. The reformulated products are
expected to appear in the market in early 2006, the company said.

"We expect to introduce in 2006 a variety of low-linolenic products that
contain zero grams of trans fats in accordance with the FDA regulations,"
said a spokesperson. "In quarter one, we'll introduce some crackers, with
more varieties later in the year; in quarter two; some of our wholesome
snacks; and toward the end of the year -- assuming available supply -- some
of our frozen products."

The spokesperson added, "We will not be using Vistive in cereals. Our
cereals are, and will continue to be virtually free of trans fatty acids."
Trans-fatty acids have been in the nutritional spotlight because of their
association with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and heightened
risk for cardiovascular disease. These fats appear in a variety of snack
foods, such as cookies and crackers, and are also in margarine and many
other foods.

Soybean oil, like other vegetable oils, do not contain cholesterol. The
company also said low-linolenic soybean oil will not alter the taste of
their products or increase the saturated-fat content.
Kellogg's announcement comes just weeks before the Jan. 1 deadline, in which
the FDA is mandating that food manufacturers list all trans-fat content on
product labels. Currently, companies volunteer that information.

"Every food company is looking for ways to reduce or eliminate trans-fatty
acids in their foods," said Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., a professor of
nutrition science at Tufts. "Kellogg's is not alone." Dr. Blumberg said he's
seen a number of companies shift the nutritional profiles of their products.
The key will be "what they're replacing it (trans fat) with."

Kellogg said it is responding to consumer demand. "Our goal is to make use
of the most innovative ingredients possible and to encourage the accelerated
production and adoption of low-lin oils so the public will benefit from this
breakthrough technology," said David Mackay, president and chief operating
officer. "This is one of many steps we are taking to continue to provide
healthy alternatives to consumers."
A year ago, when Monsanto introduced Vistive soybeans, it said they contain
less than 3% linolenic acid, compared with 8% for traditional soybeans,
"resulting in a more stable soybean oil, with a better flavor profile, and
less need for hydrogenation. Because soybeans with less linolenic acid
reduce or eliminate the need for partial hydrogenation, trans fats in
processed soybean oil can be reduced or eliminated."
Monsanto said the FDA's "mandate to include trans-fat labeling on food
products "is a major factor driving the demand for low-linolenic soybean
oil. Vistive could establish a new standard for the performance of
food-grade oils, as the U.S. consumes more than 18 billion pounds of soybean
oil annually."

Dr. Blumberg said a genetically modified soybean oil is an "interesting
choice," because the United States does not require genetically modified
ingredients to appear on food labels, whereas Europe does. Europeans, more
so than Americans, have questioned the safety of genetically modified foods,
with some critics dubbing them "Frankenfoods."

"If you don't know it's in there, you're obviously not going to be
concerned," Dr. Blumberg said.

Kellogg chose a genetically modified oil because, it said, that's the source
of the "the vast majority of soybeans currently used" in the U.S.

"The ingredients we use to create our foods have been approved by the
appropriate regulatory authorities, and our research and manufacturing
groups continually monitor our raw ingredients to ensure that only the best
quality grains are used," said Kellogg.

Soybean oil, genetically modified or otherwise, is ubiquitous, Dr. Blumberg
said, appearing "in every salad dressing in the country." Vegetable oils,
such as olive oil, also tend to be higher in polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated fats. "They're the good ones," he said.

However, Kellogg said there is a "significant shortage of low-lin soybean
oil" and farmers are struggling to meet demand. Kellogg said that in
addition to using Vistive, it's also turning to Bunge/DuPont Biotech
Alliance, which produces another low-linolenic acid soybean oil called
Nutrium. Nutrium will appear in Kellogg products beginning in 2007, the
company said.

Scientists, independent of food manufacturers, are also looking for ways to
reduce the trans-fat content of popular foods. A study published earlier
this month in Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that
frying potatoes in cottonseed oil produced French fries significantly lower
in trans fat than potatoes fried in partially hydrogenated soybean oil and
partially hydrogenated canola oil. That's because that cottonseed oil was