When I was a kid, and my parents decided to follow a vegan diet, we had soy milk from time to time. Some speciality health food stores carried it. It came in a tetrapak carton, like today, but the experience was entirely different: unsweetened and gritty, especially toward the bottom of your glass (forget trying to drink to the bottom of the carton), and came in a not-entirely-appealing beige color. Today, soy milk seems to be available everywhere, and is enthusiastically consumed by vegans and animal food lovers alike. It has received abundant praise for being healthy, and with its milky white color, smooth and silky texture, highly sweetened taste, and assortment of flavors to choose from, its popularity is understandable.
The following article comes from http://www.NaturalNews.com:
The Cornucopia Institute has just released a new report about organic soy products that’s sending shockwaves through the soy industry. By compiling information on the sourcing of soybeans, the use of toxic chemicals for soy protein extraction, and the use or avoidance of genetically modified soybeans, the Cornucopia Institute has created an Organic Soy Scorecard that reveals which soy product companies are truly trustworthy vs. those that are not.
(NaturalNews contributed funding to this investigative reporting, specifically on the subject of the laboratory testing for hexane residues in soy products. Thank you to all NaturalNews readers and customers who allow us to earn the funds needed to support these important public safety research initiatives.)
The scorecard (http://www.cornucopia.org/2009/05/s…) takes into account:
• How the soybeans are processed (some companies bathe soybeans in toxic chemicals, then put the resulting extracts into infant formula!)
• How forthright the companies are in providing information to investigators.
• Whether the company tests for and avoids genetically modified soybeans.
… and other details.
You can read the full report on www.Cornucopia.org
Here’s who came out on top:
The soy companies scorecard
• Eden Foods – 100% of their soybeans are grown in the U.S. and Canada.
• Vermont Soy (Vermont) – 100% of soybeans also grown in U.S. and Canada (mostly in Vermont). Low-heat pasteurization helps preserve soybean nutrients.
• Small Planet Tofu – Buys solely from American farmers.
• FarmSoy (Tennessee) – Real tofu made from soybeans bought from American farmers.
• TwinOats (Virginia) – Buys soybeans from an organic family farm in Virginia.
• Unisoya / Green Cuisine (Canada) – They grown their own organic soybeans on 400 acres.
• Organic Valley
• Great Eastern Sun
• Fresh Tofu
• Tofu Shop
• Harris Teeter
• Trader Joe’s – refused to disclose sourcing information
• Pacific Natural Foods – Buys soybeans from China and refused to disclose the name of the organic certifier in China. Refused to respond to questions about the certification of their “organic” soybeans. Cornucopia wonders whether Pacific Natural Foods is engaged in “a marketing gimmick” when it claims its products are “Certified to the Source.” (Certified by who?)
• Vitasoy USA – Buys soybeans from China.
• Westsoy / SoyDream (both owned by Hain Celestial Group) – Refused to share sourcing information.
• Silk (Dean Foods) – Refused to participate. Says the report: Since Dean Foods acquired WhiteWave, its founder, Steve Demos, has left the company, along with almost all of the pioneering management — those who believed in “green” values. According to Demos, the company is now all about “green, with the dead presidents on it.”
A few thoughts: I hate to say it, but I am not surprised. The industrial food world is quick to pick up on the latest nutrition research, create new products and plaster sound-bite health claims on their packaging. I’ve consumed plenty of soymilk – some from way back when, and much more since the new and improved version. But more recently, I have been moving away from factory foods in favor of real foods in a form as close as possible to how nature produced it, and a package of soymilk is no longer a regular item on my grocery list.
I am all for soy as a healthy food. I prefer it as organic soy beans (or edamame), and as traditionally fermented products such as tempeh, miso and tamari soy sauce. I’ll still buy a packaged soy product once in a while, and am happy to have this scorecard to make the best choice. If you want to support your health, the planet, a soy milk company who is doing it right, and this website, you can make your purchase through the links provided above.
When it comes to milk, I’m back to cow’s milk, direct from the source. I’m lucky to live in a place that supports (albeit minimally) the sale of raw milk. It’s pure, organic, untreated and unprocessed. I know the cows, and I like their farmer. They lead a happy, healthy live, and contribute to ours.