Hexane Used in Food Processing

Q: Should I worry about hexane in soy burgers and other processed soy foods?

A: Probably not, though it’s hard to know for sure. Hexane is a volatile solvent that’s used, with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, to extract oil from soybeans (as well as from nuts and olives). Most soy protein ingredients in meat analogs and nutrition bars, which are listed on labels as soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate or textured vegetable protein, have undergone hexane processing.

Hexane is classified as an air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and as a neurotoxin by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chronic exposure to hexane in factory workers has been linked to some neurological conditions, but it’s unclear whether consuming trace residues long term is a health hazard. It’s even unclear how much hexane, if any, remains in the food after processing, because the FDA does not monitor hexane in foods, nor does it require companies to test for it.  [READ MORE….]

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