Hexane Extracted Soy Isolates

We do not use any ingredients that have been processed with hexane. Hexane is a known neurotoxic petrochemical solvent that is used by some to produce oils, soy protein isolates or texturized soy protein (TVP) from soybeans.

We do not use hexane extracted soy isolates in our products.Instead we use whole organic soybeans and organic tofu in our products as well as expeller pressed isolates and concentrates, which we believe are a more environmentally responsible option.

Hexane is a chemical solvent that is purified from crude oil. It has been identified as a toxic air contaminant and a greenhouse gas, and its release is monitored and regulated by the EPA. It is used in a variety of applications including as an ingredient in certain glues and as a specialized industrial cleaning agent. Of the millions of pounds of hexane that are produced annually, however, its major use is by the oilseed industry in its extraction of vegetable oils. The EPA estimates that in the year 2004 nearly 23 million pounds of hexane were released into the environment by the food industry.

There are two major methods for removing oil from vegetables like soybeans -- expeller pressing or solvent extraction with hexane. Of these two methods, hexane extraction is the more complete and therefore profitable and is preferred by large oilseed processors. Of the estimated 18.8 billion pounds of soybean oil produced in the U.S. in 2004, well over 90% was extracted with hexane.

In removing the oil from soybeans, the major by-product is defatted soy meal or flakes. This defatted soy can then be further processed to remove the non-protein fractions, yielding soy protein concentrate (70-90% protein) or soy protein isolate (90% or more protein), both common ingredients in vegetarian meat alternatives. Given the availability and low cost of the starting materials, the vast majority of soy protein concentrate and isolate are made from hexane-extracted soy meal.

Turtle Island Foods does not use any products processed through hexane extraction. As well, we do not use aluminum equipment to produce our products, nor do we use any alkaline soaking solutions or baths. We use expeller pressed isolates and concentrates which we believe are a more environmentally responsible option, especially for the natural foods industry. Non hexane-extracted versions of these ingredients are currently available in limited quantities and at a substantially higher price, but we think it’s worth it.


Did you know?

Hexane is a chemical solvent that is purified from crude oil