Plant breeder Monsanto and agrifood company Cargill have announced that Cargill will process Monsanto's Vistive  low-linolenic soybeans in 2006 and will continue to accelerate the marketing of Vistive oil for use by the food industry. 

Vistive low-linolenic soybeans will reduce the need for partial hydrogenation of soybean oil, helping food companies reduce the presence of trans fatty acids (trans fats) in their products.  Cargill is one of the initial Vistive processors for 2005, and it will continue in that capacity.

 For the 2006 growing season, Cargill will be contracting with growers in Iowa for up to 150,000 acres of Vistive soybean production. Cargill will pay a premium to producers who grow Vistive soybeans under contract, then it will crush and sell the processed soybean oil to food companies.

Vistive soybeans, developed through conventional breeding, contain less than 3% linolenic acid as compared to the typical eight percent level found in traditional soybeans, Monsanto said.  The result is a more stable soybean oil, with less need for hydrogenation. Because soybeans with a lower linolenic acid level reduce the need for partial hydrogenation, their application in processed soybean oils will reduce the presence of trans fats in processed soybean oil.

The development of Vistive is significant because, beginning 1 January  2006, all food products and dietary supplements bearing a nutritional facts panel that are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration and sold in the United States will be required to list trans fat content.

"With a new crop year, we are pleased to once again promote the value of these trait-enhanced soybeans through our farmer contracting and oilseed processing activities," said Jim Sutter, vice president of Cargill's Grain and Oilseed Supply Chain - North America business.  "This program helps address food manufacturing customers' desire to reduce the trans fat content in processed foods, while providing soybean farmers a premium for growing a higher-value product.  This is something we expect to see more of in the future as additional traits are developed in response to market demand. We are happy to be collaborating with farmers to develop a system that brings these important new products to market."

"As a leading solution provider to the US food industry, Cargill is pleased to help our manufacturing customers better meet their customers' needs, and to partner with Monsanto in commercializing these exciting new products," said Stan Ryan president of Cargill's Dressings, Sauces and Oils - North America business.  "We look forward to continue participating in the growing promise of innovations such as Vistive."

"We contracted all available Vistive soybeans in 2005, so we know that this product is in demand.  We are very pleased to partner with an industry leader like Cargill to ensure a successful expansion of Vistive soybeans in 2006," said Kerry Preete, vice president of US Crop Production for Monsanto. "Vistive not only supports growing consumer demand for healthier foods, but also represents an important investment in the future success of the US soybean industry."