Food Babies

No, not you…. you, the bowlegged one

On fake meat and hexane

Posted by kathleenerindavis on April 15, 2010

If you read Food Babies, you probably also read other food-related things, or the news. And boy oh boy has the whole “veggie burgers are filled with toxic chemicals” story been all over the news in the last couple of days. It’s great ammo for meat eaters to tell vegetarians to get off their health-conscious high horses. But I don’t think everyone should be so quick to panic, and I especially don’t think it should be reason to call it quits with soy all together. Yes, fake meat isn’t the best for you food in the world (it is after all still a processed food with lots of preservatives, and processed foods are a little removed from being real food even when they aren’t pretending to be a “beef” burger or a “pork” hot dog.

First, the soy that’s in these veggie burgers is isolated soy, which processed in a different way than the soy that’s in soy milk or tofu which is whole soy. Whole soy, btw can actually be very good for you. Also, it’s unclear if hexane cooks off, or if the amounts in the products are large enough to be harmful or not. I think there needs to be a whole mess of change and regulations in how our food (of the meat and non-meat variety) is produced. But I don’t know that raising the flag of panic around fake meat is necessarily a good way to go. For a lot of people just starting out with vegetarianism, or life-long meat eaters who need to cut their cholesterol after a heart attack or other life-threatening illness (like many in my family), fake meat can be an easy and tasty alternative. Not that we should tolerate anything hazardous in our food, but I’ll still take trace amounts of hexane over life-threatening amounts of e coli any day.

Mother Jones on the topic

Gothamist on the topic

(cross posted on Full of Wit)

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