Monsanto announced that it will sell seed for low-linolenic soybean varieties in time for the 2005 growing season. The new varieties will be sold by Asgrow under the brand name Vistive. The varieties contain less than 3% linolenic acid, compared to 8% for traditional soybeans, resulting in a more stable soybean oil with a better flavor profile, and less need for hydrogenation. Also known as trans fats, excess linolenic acids are linked to heart disease because they lower HDL (good) cholesterol while raising LDL (bad) cholesterol. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s mandate to include trans fat labeling on food products beginning January 1, 2006, is a major factor driving the demand for low-linolenic soybean oil.
Producers who grow Vistive soybeans will do so under contract with participating soybean processors. Participating processors will offer growers a premium for the Vistive soybeans. Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) will be a participating soybean processor for 2005. Monsanto is finalizing programs with additional participating processors and plans to announce details in the next few weeks.