DuPont’s new GMO cooking oil raises the bar on controversy

Plenish – a GMO cooking oil from DuPont Pioneer – is quietly making its way into restaurants

When it comes to eating healthy, there are a lot of factors to consider. Fried foods don’t really fit the bill, even though we’d like to think they do.

But chalk another one up for DuPont and their efforts to get Americans to accept GMO products as part of their regular food choices.

DuPont Pioneer is offering a new cooking oil that’s made from genetically modified soybeans. Called Plenish, it has zero trans fat – a double whammy for heart health because it raises your “bad” cholesterol and lowers the “good” kind. The new oil has 20 percent less saturated fat – another “bad” cholesterol booster – than conventional soy oil. And, like olive oil, it is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. And it has a high smoke point, so chefs who’ve used it favor it.

Introduced to the restaurant and food industries several years ago, Plenish has caught on slowly and, as yet, isn’t available in supermarkets.

The new oil could have wide implications. Soybean oil represents about 60 percent of all oil consumed in the United States today. It is used in commercial fryers and baking.
The Board has set a goal of 18 million acres of high oleic soybeans by 2023, which would make these beans the fourth largest crop in the U.S., behind corn, conventional soybeans and wheat.
Patricia Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, says the industry is “hyping” the consumer benefits of this new GMO oil.
“Right now, what they’re trying to do is make people feel better about fried food,” she said. We need to have a conversation about a healthy diet. Instead they’re saying “we can fix that with our magic soybeans!”
So consumers beware. That delectable looking fried food – be it at a fast food joint or a quality restaurant – may be cooked with oil you might not want to eat. Customers would be wise to ask questions and make their wishes known. Don’t want to eat foods cooked in Plenish? Then speak up. The more you / we do, the more restaurateurs will take notice and offer more healthful choices.
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