Target: Dan Bane, CEO of Trader Joe’s
Goal: Call on Trader Joe’s to sell only soy products produced without hexane, a known neurotoxin
Several of Trader Joe’s non-organic soy products are processed using hexane, a neurotoxin and hazardous air pollutant. As a company Trader Joe’s targets environmentally aware and health-conscious consumers; it should commit to offering only vegetable burgers and other soy products produced without hexane.
Hexane is a byproduct of gasoline refining and is often used as a solvent in soy processing to separate soy oil from the protein. Hexane is a neurotoxin according to the Centers for Disease Control, and a hazardous air pollutant according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The European Union regulates hexane in foods and it is prohibited in organic products in the United States; however use of hexane is common in the so-called “natural foods” industry when soy proteins are sourced from large corporate suppliers, as its use drives down processing costs.
The use of hexane in health foods and meat alternatives is misleading and dangerous. The Cornacopia Institute, a sustainability watchdog group, has described the tendency for such private-label organics products to “contradict what many thought the organic movement was all about: consumers understanding where their food comes from and how it is produced.”
As a leader in the socially and environmentally-conscious food industry it is hypocritical of Trader Joe’s to sell products made using a harmful petrochemical. The company has responded to consumer demands for improved sustainability in the past. Urge Trader Joe’s to source only soy products processed without the use of hexane.
Dear Mr. Bane,
Trader Joe’s veggie burgers and other soy products are frequently cited as using soy processed with hexane, a dangerous chemical solvent and neurotoxin. Employees in soy processing plants are exposed to hexane, known to be harmful to human health as well as to the environment. Its use in the production of health foods and meat alternatives is particularly misleading. While consumers do want a bargain they also want truth in advertising–and there’s nothing wholesome about toxic chemicals like hexane.
Trader Joe’s is a beloved specialty foods supplier that appeals to environmentally aware and health-conscious consumers. You likely know that people are growing increasingly aware of the difference between advertising and truth when it comes to sustainable product sourcing. I urge you and your company to sell only vegetable burgers and other soy products made without dangerous neurotoxins like hexane.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dano via Flickr