Is there no end to the foods and other products that can get soy’led? Probably not, and these days soy could be lurking anywhere and everywhere. Although soy can seem like a renewable “green alternative” to petroleum products, the soy-ling of America is bad news indeed for people with severe soy allergies.
In the past, I’ve published the names of common food products likely to contain soy, and exposed many of the aliases soy can hide under — hydrolyzed plant protein, textured vegetable protein, lecithin and bouillon, for starters. The good news for consumers is the Food Allergen Labeling Act of 2006 requires food manufacturers to clearly spell out “s-o-y” on food labels. Even so, I never cease to be amazed at what I find. I expect the “dirty dozen” exposed here will be a surprise to many.
1. Cast iron cookware Lodge cast iron cookware has been a symbol of old-fashioned quality for more than 100 years. The new ones, however, come pre seasoned with, guess what? Yup, soy oil. Other “pre seasoned” brands too? Probably. What did our do-it-yourselfer ancestors season with? Good old fats like tallow.
2. Melt Away Cupcake Liners. Weary of peeling paper off your cupcakes or muffins? Then some prize-winning students at Purdue University have just the thing for you. Their entry in the Student Soybean and Corn Innovation Contest of 2009 was a “melt away” liner that disappears like magic right into the cupcake itself. In other words, “Not in your trash. Trash down the hatch.”
3. Celestial Seasonings Tea Black Cherry and maybe some other flavors too contains soy lecithin. And if the celestial ones are soy-ling tea, other brands may be doing so too.
4. White Russians. Did you know there are vegan bars where the White Russians are made with soymilk? If your friendly neighborhood bar has gone vegan, count on cream drinks getting soy-led.
5. Salt Answer RX. This Jimoto product is made up of modified potato starch, artificial flavor, monoammonium glutamate, sucrose, lactic acid, citric acid, hydrogenated soybean oil, silicone dioxide, calcium lactate and maltodextrin. What to do instead, how about salt? Old-fashioned salt. Big Pfood warns us to get off salt right now for a lot of reasons and allegedly for our own good. The truth is the new salt substitutes are addictive and profitable as they make people want to eat, eat and eat some more.
6. Vaccines. Most health conscious people already know about the mercury and/or aluminum found in vaccines. Less well known is that the industry has been turning to soy adjuvants. It may be in the chicken pox vaccine, among others.
7. Pates. Chicken, duck and goose liver pates at Whole Foods Market look like the real thing — and are priced like a real thing — but may contain soy protein isolate, among other dubious ingredients Why? To increase profits, obviously, but maybe also to put its upscale consumers in touch with the common folk. SPI, after all, is found in Bumblebee and other supermarket brands of canned tuna. As it happens, the soy industry plans a future of soy-led ham, chicken, turkey and other meats. Solbar’s “novel” new soy protein ingredients will “improve mouth feel and overall product quality through their low viscosity and strong gelling properties.” And that’s not all folks! This “novel” technology will allow “smoother injection machine entry.”
8. Instant Oatmeal . Believe it or not, ingredients can include soy protein isolate, partially hydrogenated soy oil, high fructose corn syrup and other goodies. Who would have thunk it? Read those labels. With oatmeal, at least, we still have the right to know when it’s no longer Grandma’s oatmeal.
9. Soft drinks. Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange and other citrusy sodas may contain brominated vegetable oil, a product developed as a flame retardant. Now why might brominated vegetable oil (probably from soy oil) be in soda? To keep the other hazardous ingredients from spontaneously combusting? Nope. It’s to emulsify the citrus-like flavors. Wouldn’t want them separating and floating to the surface now, would we?
10. Artificial fire logs. Soy, and lord knows what else, might end up in the smoke we breathe. Soy candles are billed as “clean burning” but might also be a problem for people with soy allergies.
11. Sofas. Probably NOT a problem unless people get down and naked on cushions that have been ripped or unzipped. If there’s soy in there, it’s most likely in the form of soy foam, a product that is increasingly pitched to environmentally conscious consumers. Interestingly enough, this is a different kind of “hidden soy.” Seems that soy foam actually contains very little soy — so little that Debra Lynn Dadd, the Queen of Green, calls it an excellent example of “greenwashing.” Seems soy foam is regular polyurethane with just a small percentage of soy in it. And there are all the usual flame retardants and other petro-chemicals to boot. “They can’t put a higher percentage of soy because soy breaks down too fast,” she says.
12. Corkboards and floor mats. New versions made out of soy and/or corn may soon set foot in the marketplace. Probably not a problem except for people with contact allergies who touch them with bare hands or feet. Others will experience no problems unless they eat them. Chew on a soy/corn corkboard or floor board? Don’t laugh. Jacob Smoker, one of the Purdue students who invented this prize-winning new product, bit into it and reported it to be “really sweet.” Good to know if your stomach is rumbling, the frig is empty, you aren’t allergic to soy, and not the least bit fussy about taste and texture. While I can’t imagine ever being so tempted, I do have a concern: If cork can be soy-led, will wine corks be next?
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