The prohibition of hexane in the processing of organic foods, contrasting with its widespread use in non-organic veggie burgers, meat alternatives, nutrition bars and other “natural” foods, is a perfect example of the importance of the organic label.
A “natural” nutrition bar and a certified organic nutrition bar may look nearly identical to a consumer, other than price, but a behind-the-scenes examination of how they were manufactured, focusing on the soy protein ingredients, reveals the importance of purchasing certified organic food.
Organic foods provide a government-regulated, third-party-certified refuge from foods produced and processed with toxins and potentially dangerous chemicals. Federal standards for organic foods are created and enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture, and prohibit the use of synthetic inputs that threaten the environment and/or human health, including hexane.
Hexane is a byproduct of gasoline refining. It is a neurotoxin and a hazardous air pollutant. Soybean processors use it as a solvent—a cheap and efficient way of extracting oil from soybeans, a necessary step to making most conventional soy oil and protein ingredients. Whole soybeans are literally bathed in hexane to separate the soybeans’ oil from protein.
To assist consumers, and wholesale buyers, in making informed purchasing decisions and supporting the companies that have committed to hexane-free soy ingredients, The Cornucopia Institute has developed the report “Banned in Organics” along with the “Guide to Choosing Non-Hexane Meat Alternatives” and the “Guide to Choosing Non-Hexane Nutrition Bars.” (NOTE: The guides have been archived.)
Sustainable Food on Change.org, based on our report, started a petition to Get Neurotoxins Out of Clif Bars, read about it and sign it here.