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Frito Lay Looks North for non-GMO Oil

(9 August - Cropchoice News) -- A Canadian canola and flaxseed oil company says it has recieved inquiries from snack food maker Frito Lay. The Dallas based company is reportedly looking to switch to biotech-free cooking oil suppliers. Moving to conventional oil would extend the committment the major snack food maker made earlier this year to go GMO-free in its corn ingredients.

In an article published yesterday in the Calgary Herald, a co-owner of Highwood Crossing Farm in Alberta says the Canadian Consulate in Dallas called on behalf of Frito Lay looking to see if Highwood could provide non-GMO oil to the US company. But according to Highwood, which presses oil to order, the farm had to decline because it can't come close to meeting Frito Lay's demand.

Tony Marshall, Highwood's owner, says "Frito Lay was looking for non-genetically modified canola oil to use in their product and asked if we could supply them. As much as we would have loved to, we just don't have the capacity."

Marshall says demand is high for his certified organic oil, which is tested GMO clean. He told the Calgary paper "We get a lot of calls from people wanting to buy it by the tanker load." Highwood specializes in cold pressed, unrefined flax and canola oils, which the farm says are popular among chefs for their flavor and consumers for the nutrition.

Frito Lay turned heads in late January when it announced it would go GMO-free in its corn (and potato) snack food ingredients. But the company's posture on processed ingredients like oils was less clear. In the US, Frito operates its own elevators and sources 95% of its corn from contracts with corn growers in states like Illinois. Producers are asked to choose a variety from a list of approved non-GMO types. Those who plant unapproved varieties risk Frito Lay not buying them.

In 1999, Frito Lay put 1.2 billion pounds of corn into the 9 billion packages of snack foods it sells each year in the USA. Most are fried or contain vegetable oil as an important ingredient.

Source: Calgary Herald, News Gazette (Urbana-Champaign)