Off the Grid News – by Tara Dodrill
The FDA trans fat ban may be more than simply a health-based initiative.
The proposed Food and Drug Administration rule would ban trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils – PHOs) in processed food. But the Alliance for Natural Health is but one food related organization that feels the FDA ban may actually have been crafted to benefit a new Monsanto GMO product.
According to the group, the government ban impacts not all trans fats – only the artificial ones that are created when vegetable oils and hydrogen are added during processing in order to make the product semi-solid.
As it turns out, biotech companies are beginning to promote a GMO-laced soybean oil they say is healthier than oils that have trans fat.
The timing of the FDA trans fat ban is of particular interest to Monsanto and biotech industry watchers, the Alliance for Natural Health noted. The announcement reportedly comes at a time when banning PHOs would no longer irritate the biotech giants, which are also major election donors to both political parties. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, former Monsanto executives and attorneys now hold key positions within a host of federal agencies, including the FDA, USDA, and EPA.
Timeline of recent trans fat FDA and Monsanto activities
- January 2006 – The Food and Drug Administration mandates the labeling of foods which contained trans fat. A loophole allowed food products containing less than .5 grams of trans fat to claim a “zero trans fat” designation.
- 2007 to 2010 – During this time frame most processed food found in grocery stores across the United States began eliminating or limiting trans fats content. Approximately 66 percent of food products that had contained trans fat have now eliminated or reduced PHO content.
- January 2011 – The FDA green lights a safety assessment on Vistive Gold soybeans, a Monsanto product. Safety studies on the GMO seed also known as MON 87705 was reportedly largely based on review documents submitted by the biotech corporation. DuPont is making a similar yet competitive product named Plenish High Oleic Soybean Oil that is free of trans fats.
- November 2013 –The Food and Drug Administration proposed the trans fat ban.
The FDA announced its proposal only after most companies had banned trans fat and after Monsanto and DuPont had been given the green light for their new products.
“Monsanto and DuPont’s soybeans and the oils derived from … are meant to appeal to consumers by giving them a ‘healthy’ veneer since they are trans fat free,” the Alliance for Natural Health said. “This is only the beginning: increasingly biotech companies are marketing products that are positioned to benefit consumers’ health but actually contain GMOs. This move ignores the fact that since many processed foods and most whole foods are already free of trans fats, the new GMO soybeans are a superfluous ‘innovation.’ The biotech giants also fail to tell the public that conventional soybean oil, due both to its overuse in American foods and the way it is created, can be incredibly unhealthy.”
A report in the New York Times business section also ponders whether or not the FDA trans fat ban was proposed solely for public health purposes or in an effort to aid the “unpopular biotechnology industry” and GMO crops.
Both the Monsanto and DuPont genetically modified soybean products have reportedly had their composition altered in order to create an allegedly healthier and longer-lasting alterative to trans fats.
“In essence we’ve rebuild the profile. It almost mirrors olive oil in terms of the composition of fatty acids,” said DuPont’s Russ Sander.
Marketing the GMO soybean products to the general public and restaurants just became a lot easier, courtesy of the FDA trans fat ban.
The Center for Food Safety believes the GMO soybean oil products should have undergone far more thorough testing. Vistive Gold and Plenish reportedly underwent only a voluntary safety review by the FDA. DuPont reportedly plans on planting up to 300,000 acres of Plenish soybeans in 2014.