GM DNA detected in refined soy oil
2. Monitoring genetically modified soybean along the industrial soybean oil extraction and refining processes by polymerase chain reaction techniques -- 2010 study showing there's detectable GM DNA in refined soy oil
NOTE: In the 1990s Claire of GMWatch spoke to a man in the food retail industry who confirmed that DNA is detectable in a significant proportion of refined food oils. He added that there was no reason to believe that GM DNA would be any different and that therefore it could be detectable in oils derived from GM crops.
Claire then wrote to the relevant government bodies, which denied that GM DNA could be present in refined oils as it would all be removed in processing, though they presented no evidence to back this up. The "note" below from Robert May, then chief scientific adviser to the Blair government, reiterates this official line. It also betrays the all-too-common arrogance of the pro-GM scientific establishment about the "confusion" of the "nonexpert" -- who might be under the impression that GM DNA could be present in refined food oils. But in this case as in many others, the nonexpert turned out to be less "confused" than the government's scientific adviser.
1. Genetically Modified Foods: Facts, Worries, Policies and Public Confidence
URN No: 99/698
A note by Sir Robert May FRS
Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government
Published: February 1999
In many cases, the new genes in the GM food are simply not present in that part of the plant which ends up on the supermarket shelf. Oil from GM soya is an example. The GM soya has resistance to particular herbicides built into it. Farmers in the USA and elsewhere have rapidly switched to it - a large proportion of the world's soya oil is already from GM crops - because it requires less expenditure on herbicide to prevent weeds overrunning the crop, and the herbicide can also be more effective and less toxic. Refined oil extracted from the soya beans, however, does not contain any detectable remnant of the genetically modified DNA which coded for its construction. Although traces of protein may be detectable in unrefined oils, the refining process removes such traces...
Here again is a ready source of confusion for the nonexpert. Many of the products of GM crops have, by the time they reach the consumer, been processed in ways which effectively remove all of the modified DNA. The soya oil has, in this sense, lost all memory that a herbicide was engineered into another part of the plant from which it was extracted. It can be argued that there is no scientific need for such products to carry a GM label.
2. Monitoring genetically modified soybean along the industrial soybean oil extraction and refining processes by polymerase chain reaction techniques
Joana Costa, Isabel Mafra, Joana S. Amaral, and M.B.P.P. Oliveira
Food Research International
Volume 43, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 301-306
In the present work, the extraction and detection of DNA along a complete industrial soybean oil processing chain was described to monitor the presence of Roundup Ready (RR) soybean. The analysed samples comprised all the steps prior to industrial oil extraction, namely, raw, cracked, laminated and expanded seeds, and the defatted flour as a sub-product. The samples collected at the refining unit included the crude oil, degummed/neutralised, washed, bleached and deodorised oil, as final product. The amplification of soybean lectin gene by end-point polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was successfully achieved in all the steps of extraction and refining processes, until the fully refined soybean oil. The amplification of RR soybean by PCR assays using event-specific primers was also achieved for all the extraction and refining steps, except for the intermediate steps of refining (neutralisation, washing and bleaching) possibly due to sample instability. The real-time PCR assays using
specific probes confirmed all the results and proved that it is possible to detect and quantify genetically modified organisms in the fully refined soybean oil. To our knowledge, this has never been reported before and represents an important accomplishment regarding the traceability of genetically modified organisms in refined oils.