According to numerous sources, including Mother Jones, CBS News, and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, most non-organic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane, an air pollutant and neurotoxin, according to the EPA.
If your brand contains soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate or textured vegetable protein, it probably was made using soy beans which were processed with hexane, a chemical which separates the soy beans' oil from the protein.
The Mother Jones piece lists brands which are made with hexane and which ones aren't.
The brand currently in my freezer, Trader Joe's Pizza Veggie Burgers, are pretty tasty, but guess what? They're made with hexane, according to the article, as are many popular brands.
For more details, check out this report from the Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit research and advocacy group that supports organic and sustainable agriculture.
The effects of consuming foods made with hexane aren't known. But according to the EPA, long-term exposure to hexane in the air is associated with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision and headache.
This is totally bad news for those of us who have assumed that veggie burgers are a decent choice for a healthy meal choice.
There are some guidelines for avoiding hexane in your veggie burgers, but they're confusing. Products which have the USDA Organic Seal or are labeled "organic" don't contain any hexane-derived ingredients. But unfortunately, that rule doesn't apply to foods labeled "made with organic ingredients."
But why take any chances? You can make your own veggie burgers from scratch in ten minutes tops. Check back soon with Chicago Buzz Chicago or better yet, sign up below. You won't want to miss the fabulous Quick Veggie Burger recipe that's coming up soon!
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