Tofu Shop Specialty Foods, Inc.

Tofu Shop responds to article about hexane use in so-called “natural” products

by on Jan.18, 2011, under Blog, General

Last week Matthew wrote a letter to the editor in response to the North Coast Journal’s Table Talk Column about Silk soy milk, the use of the chemical hexane to process soy, and the misleading use of the label “natural” on non-organic products. In case you didn’t see it, here’s the letter.

Editor:

The Journal’s Table Talk column in the last issue caught my attention. The article titled “Un-Natural Foods” made some important points about the quality of certified organic food and also the questionable use of the claim “natural” for some food products potentially exposed to hexane, a processing solvent used during oilseed extraction. The article spotlighted Silk, one brand of “natural”, non-organic soymilk.

First, I would like to assure customers of locally-made and certified organic Tofu Shop brand soymilk, veggie burgers and other tofu products, that our products are free from any potential hexane tainting. We process our own certified organic soybeans in-house in small batches, using traditional methods of grinding and open-kettle cooking.

While there is good information in the article, it passed over the equally important underlying story of the saga of White Wave, the company that first developed Silk soymilk and what can happen to a product’s quality when small companies are bought out by larger ones.

Much like Humboldt’s own Tofu Shop Specialty Foods, White Wave was born in the mid-1970’s. Riding a wave of demand for vegetarian, ethnic and soy food products, White Wave tofu became a national brand. In the 1990’s it introduced Silk, an organic soymilk. At the same time, major research on soy suggested protective health benefits for heart disease, some cancers, and other ailments.

Soymilk sales soared. White Wave approached Dean Foods, perhaps the largest dairy distributor in North America, as an investor. Dean Foods eventually bought out White Wave and over time has changed most of the Silk line from “organic” to “natural.”

Here at Tofu Shop Specialty Foods, we remain a local/regional company and are committed to the well-being of our local community. Regarding the last paragraph of the Journal’s article which attacks soy in general, it is largely held by reputable health experts, that soy—when consumed as traditionally processed, whole foods like tofu and soymilk (as opposed to soy protein isolates or concentrates)—is a very healthy addition to most diets.

I encourage folks to visit our website and go to the page on “Soy and Health” for more information. We also have an informative page about how we make our tofu.

Thank you, Matthew Schmit

Organic Tofu Shop tofu-how we make our organic tofu

Organic Tofu Shop products

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1 comment for this entry:
  1. Holly Blackwood

    I just wanted to thank you for your line of krauts, please forgive me if this is a duplicate email. I didn’t think I had the correct address. I love all the krauts, supa spicy is my favorite. The quality is amazing and what a bonus to have a local product. Is there any plans for nuka pickles? I have not tried the dills but will when I spot them at Wildberries. I believe nuka pickles are made with rice bran which would make them gluten free, which is great for me and a growing number of people who need to eat gluten free products. Hope this is an idea. How about umeboshi plums? I believe all come from Japan which, I’m afraid, will have compromised quality. I’ve been eating your delicious products for years and appreciate the excellence you put into your products. Keep up the good work. The only other comment I might make is the price for the krauts seem a little high, they do go quickly. Holly

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