If you are consuming soy products, be certain you have a reliable organic source.
The Cornucopia Institute has just released their groundbreaking report Behind The Bean — The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry.
The Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Soy Full Report and accompanying Scorecard rates companies that market organic soy foods, such as soymilk, tofu and “veggie burgers,” based on ten criteria that are important to organic consumers—showcasing companies that are truly committed to the spirit and letter of the organic law while exposing those that do not rate highly or were unwilling to share their sourcing and production practices in our survey.
The scorecard sheds light on questions such as:
- Do the soybeans come from American organic farmers, or are they imported from China, India or South America?
- Is the company devoted to supporting organic agriculture by sourcing only organic soybeans and marketing only organic products?
- Does the company use loopholes in the organic standards to source cheaper non-organic ingredients even when organic ones are available?
Part I of the comprehensive report explores the reasons for asking these questions, including why organic consumers should be wary of Chinese imports, given the lax oversight by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) over organic certifiers working in China.
Part II of the report exposes the “dirty little secret” of the “natural” soy foods industry: the widespread use of hexane in processing. Hexane is strictly prohibited in organic food processing, but is used to make “natural” soy foods and even some that are “made with organic ingredients,” such as Clif Bars®. Hexane is a neurotoxic petrochemical solvent that is listed as a hazardous air pollutant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Both the report and scorecard highlight the good news in the organic soyfood industry: in every market and product category, there are true heroes, both national and local manufacturers, supplying ethically-produced organic food that are worthy of consumer support.
POSTSCRIPT: It would be interesting to do a Soy Bean DNA science fair project, wouldn't it?