Leading soybean oil producer Bunge received approval on its independently filed petition for a qualified health claim linking consumption of soybean oil to reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Upon review, the FDA will allow companies to communicate that soybean oil may reduce coronary heart disease risk and lower LDL-cholesterol when replacing saturated fat and not increasing calories.
The petition included a summary of human clinical studies from top nutrition researchers demonstrating the heart health potential of soybean oil.
Soybean oil is America's most commonly used ingredient and top dietary source of omega-3 fats. Products include bottled oil, dressings, dips, snacks, baked goods and more.
Based on the new health claim, food providers are allowed to make heart health claims when food and menu items include at least 5.0 grams of soybean oil per serving and also meet applicable criteria for saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium content. In order to be deemed heart healthy, soybean-oil-containing food products, including margarine, margarine substitutes, and margarine products must also be a good source of one of six beneficial nutrients identified by FDA. Soybean oil, soybean oil blends, salad dressings, and shortenings can carry the claim without having to be a good source of one of these six nutrients, but must meet criteria for saturated, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium content.
According to the Hartman Group, heart health is the No. 1 health feature U.S. consumers look for when grocery shopping. In addition, 55% of U.S consumers are trying to avoid or reduce saturated fat in their diet, and almost 40% are trying to incorporate healthier fats—i.e. polyunsaturated and monounsatured fats.
"As a leading soybean oil producer, Bunge is committed to enhancing the value of America's most accessible food oil. Based on a compelling set of human studies from top nutrition researchers showing that soybean oil could lower LDL cholesterol when replacing saturated fat, we proactively petitioned the FDA to permit the claim recognizing that enabling heart health communications for this oil would further enhance its attractiveness," says Dr. Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing, Bunge North America.
Bunge provides soybean oils across its Bunge and Whole Harvest brands, offering traditional soybean oil, as well as expeller-pressed, non-GMO and organic options.