When it comes to algae oil, we focus on the lipid profile or the amount of “good” fats, called monounsaturated fats6. In algae oil, monounsaturated fats are represented by oleic acid. Oleic acid is present at some level in all oils we consume regularly. For example, olive oil typically contains about 65% oleic acid. We modify the lipid pathway of algae so it produces more monounsaturated fat and the oil has more desirable culinary properties including neutral taste, high stability, and more7. While we modify the lipid pathway of the algae, there is no genetic material, DNA, or protein in the final oil that is produced and consumed.

Though there is no modified genetic material in the finished oil, many of the foods we consume every day have been genetically modified. More than 55% percent of the agricultural cropland in the United States is planted with genetically modified seeds.8 One of the primary motivations driving these genetic modifications has been to increase crop resistance to insect pests (such as the European Corn Borer and Corn Earworm) and herbicides (glyphosate or dicamba), in the latter case so that those chemicals could be applied without harming the crop plant.9 In the case of U.S. crops that have been genetically modified for herbicide-tolerance, studies have concluded that this strategy has resulted in greater proliferation of herbicide-resistant weeds (including glyphosate-resistant weeds), which in turn has resulted in an increase in the use of herbicides to combat these weeds.10 Because residue from the chemicals in herbicides can persist in waterways, land and surrounding natural habitats, broad herbicide use can have harmful effects on our environment, particularly with respect to biodiversity.11 In some cases, herbicides have been linked to negative impacts on human health.12

6 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33562469/

7 Spotlight™ Premium Culinary Algae Oil contains 13 grams of omega-9 fat per serving.

8 https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/charts-of-note/charts-of-note/?topicId=a2d1ab41-13b3-48b5-8451-688d73507ff4#:~:text=Currently%2C%20over%2090%20percent%20of,or%20insect%20resistant%20(Bt)

9 https://www.fda.gov/food/agricultural-biotechnology/why-do-farmers-us-grow-gmo-cropshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18078304/

10 https://news.virginia.edu/content/largest-ever-study-reveals-environmental-impact-genetically-modified-crops and

11 https://www.epa.gov/caddis-vol2/herbicides#:~:text=For%20example%2C%20exposure%20to%20herbicides,modifying%20habitat%20and%20food%20availability

12 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34052177/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31342895/