This just in: not all veggie burgers are created equal.
While vegetarians certainly earn eco-points by choosing non-meat substitutes for the grill, opting to save a few bucks and chow down on the non-organic variety isn't harmless. According to a report from the Cornucopia Institute, most non-organic and "natural" veggie burgers contain hexane, which also happens to be on the E.P.A.'s list of air pollutants and neurotoxins.
Hexane, better known as a byproduct of oil refinement, is used in soy products to strip the bean's oil from its protein in order to lower the fat content of the food. It's bad for the environment—grain processors were responsible for two-thirds of the hexane emissions in 2007—but it's also dangerous for the factory workers processing the beans. According to Mother Jones, which first reported about Veggie BurgerGate earlier this week, hexane exposure can lead to "skin and nervous system disorders."
So for those of you planning that long-awaited first BBQ of the summer, it's worth shelling out the extra cash for the organic version of your favorite faux meat product. All of the biggies—Amy's, Boca Burger, Gardenburger, Morningstar Farms, Trader Joe's—use hexane in their non-organic patties. And remember: just because something is labeled "natural" doesn't mean it's actually, you know, from nature.
Hexane use extends beyond veggie burgers, to soy milk and tofu and a host of other soy-based foods. Cornucopia's got a detailed rating system that's worth consulting before your next trip to the grocery store.
from Take Part
It's shocking to me where we find the violations of our food industry especially when they promote their product as the healthier alternative. Being vegetarian but still missing meat we have relied a lot on soy based products to get us through the week. Fortunately now after reading this report...my husband's pay cut this past year we've had to rely a lot on rice and beans. Soy products are very pricey many times more expensive than meat.
What gets me about this report is that the hexane is also used in processing soy beans for baby formula. Where do they get off thinking this is ok?
If you eat soy products make sure to read the full Cornucopia Institute study.
Please support the causes that make our food safer by learning more about what goes into your food. Follow the trail, sign petitions... talk about what you learn. Passing the word along is really the biggest thing you can do to make a difference.
Things will change once we wake up and start to challenge our leaders to do the right thing. ~nancy