Kao established its food business in 1928. It has a long history of research in edible fats and oils since its early days when it launched industrial-use vegetable shortening under the name Econa. We have continued research and development on products such as substitutes for cacao oil and functional oils, focusing on the study of molecular design using enzyme reactions, and to this day Kao has been as a marketer of industrial-use oils and fats. Among the products derived from these research activities is Econa Healthy Cooking Oil, which was approved for Food for Specified Health Use labeling in 1998. By establishing a processing technology for fats and oils that involves attachment of a specific fatty acid to a particular site on the glycerin molecule, Kao developed diacylglycerol oil, which contains 1,3-diacylglycerol as a major component, and demonstrated that it contributes less to a post-meal elevation of blood triglyceride level, and reduces body fat through continuous intake.
After years of research and development, we launched Econa Healthy Cooking Oil, which has sparked keen interest among consumers, doctors, and nutritionists. To examine safety concerns, the Food Safety Commission of Japan investigated and those results are summarized following.
1. DAG oils and related products have been, however, retracted from the market. DAG foods are thus unlikely to expose people, and no further data necessary for the assessment are available on the consumption of DAG foods (period, amount, age, etc.) and varieties of confounding factors in lifestyle. Lack of individual data on the exposure makes it difficult from the reliable estimation of lifetime cancer risk.
2. The tumor promoting activity of DAG oils administered orally was denied. Adverse effects of DAG oils were not confirmed in animal experiments, although DAG oils contain GE as contaminants.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, who asked the Food Safety Commission for consultation, made the following statement. No occurrence of health hazards related to the ingestion of these products has been reported, thus they are not considered to have immediate serious health effects.
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