previous posts, I am coming around to the notion that what we choose to put in our bodies is a highly personal decision. And that what we eat varies greatly depending on geography, demographics, religious beliefs, nutritional beliefs, and perhaps above all, food availability (or scarcity).
That being said, I believe that we should educate ourselves with as much information (conflicting though it may seem) so that we can make the best possible decisions for our health and for the well-being of the plants and animals we share the planet with. It would be great if we could actually trust our food suppliers and believe that what is marketed to us as "healthy" or "good for us" actually is. Which brings me to the topic of veggie burgers. They are quite often offered up as a meat-free "healthier" alternative to conventional burgers. But are they really?
According to a Mother Jones article, non-organic veggie burgers are processed with hexane. Hex-a-what?
In order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers, manufacturers of soy-based fake meat like to make their products have as little fat as possible. The cheapest way to do this is by submerging soybeans in a bath of hexane to extract the oil from the protein. Says Cornucopia Institute senior researcher Charlotte Vallaeys, "If a non-organic product contains a soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein, you can be pretty sure it was made using soy beans that were made with hexane."
If you've heard about hexane before, it was likely in the context of gasoline—the air pollutant is also a byproduct of gas refining. But in 2007, grain processors were responsible for two-thirds of our national hexane emissions. Hexane is hazardous in the factory, too: Workers who have been exposed to it have developed both skin and nervous system disorders. Troubling, then, that the FDA does not monitor or regulate hexane residue in foods. More worrisome still: According to the report, "Nearly every major ingredient in conventional soy-based infant formula is hexane extracted."
So, here is more from the The Cornucopia Institute about soy and the soy products that are processed with hexane. I encourage you to take a look. I bet you might be as surprised as I was.
Soy Report and Scorecard.
Wow. I don't know about you, but this report makes me think twice about ordering a veggie burger and I'll definitely be more careful when shopping for soy products. I'll be making sure mine are organic.