The American Medical Association issued a statement in mid-November announcing support for legislation to ban use of artificial trans fats in restaurants and bakeries nationwide. The announcement was made in an effort to help Americans maintain good health and lower the risk of the nation's No. 1 killer, heart disease, according to the AMA press release.
"Iowans can take pride in their own local company, Asoyia, as one of the first to grow the soybeans used to produce a trans fat-free oil offered as an alternative to hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats used in baked and fried foods," says Beth Fulmer-Boyer, vice president of oil business for Asoyia.
Iowa City-based Asoyia is a seed and oil company offering an answer for manufacturers and food service providers looking for a healthier, more functional trans fat-free oil that provides increased shelf and fryer life, she says. The company's specialty oils are already used by Pepperidge Farms and other snack food makers, as well as by restaurant chains like Pizza Ranch and Maid-Rite.
Market for low-linolenic beans is expanding
"The development of our specialty soybeans started more than 30 years ago at Iowa State University," notes Fulmer-Boyer. "It wasn't until the late 1990s that the health consequences of consuming foods with trans fats came to light. Now that the country is focused on healthier eating, our time has come to share a truly revolutionary product."
Artificial trans fats are generated through the process of hydrogenation, which adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, extending the shelf life of the foods processed with it. Many commercially processed foods, including crackers, chips and cookies, along with fried foods, like french fries, offered in restaurants, are made with hydrogenated oils and contain trans fats.
Cities such as Chicago and New York have already passed legislation to ban the use of trans fats in restaurants and bakeries. Earlier this year, the state of California also signed a law banning trans fats and many other states are currently considering legislation to reduce or ban trans fat containing foods.
Farmer-owned company keeps growing
Asoyia was formed in 2004 by 25 Iowa farmers and today is the only commercial producer of ULTRA Low Linolenic Soybean Oils processed from the company's specialty 1% ULTRA low linolenic soybeans. The innovative specialty soybeans keep the oil fresh and shelf-stable for two to three times longer than conventional oils, thus eliminating the need for hydrogenation.
Earlier this year, Asoyia was named Eastern Iowa's "Fastest Growing Company" by the Iowa Entrepreneurial Development Center and the Corridor Business Journal. The company has grown 851% in just three years.
"Our goal is always to be the leader in the development and marketing of specialty soybean oils that provide healthier alternatives, superior performance and better value for consumers," says Greg Keeley, Asoyia's CEO.