8th Contient, Solae, and GMO Soy Protein

Solae claim "innovation through nature." So why modify nature? (src)

At the grocery last night, some very cheap 8th Continent soy milk caught my attention, and I ended up purchasing a carton. As a vegan, I’m usually in the habit of flipping products over to check ingredients, but because I mostly know what’s vegan and what isn’t these days, I still do it just to read the nutritional facts, learn more about the company, or see what kind of product I might buy. Really, everyone should do this and learn more about their food, even if they don’t yet know what all the info on the back means.

So it surprised me when I saw that 8th Continent mentioned Solae on the back of the carton, particularly because it had some registered trademark business and talked about soy protein. If your soy is copyrighted…then that means it’s probably been tampered with. You can’t patent a plant, but you can patent a plant you create. Color me surprised, then, when I read on 8th Continent’s website:

Our beans are grown right here in the USA, so we know the quality and the source. We only use non-GMO soybeans* which have not been genetically engineered.

The asterisk denotes that their “Complete Vanilla” flavor actually does have GMO soy beans, but that’s not the point. Why use Solae-brand soy if they’re going to be straight up USA ‘natural’ soy beans? They have an explanation for that too:

8th Continent sources its soy protein from Solae, a leader in soy protein ingredients. Solae employs a rigorous identity-preservation management program to ensure the integrity of their soy protein soy products manufactured with non-genetically modified soybeans. The protein used in 8th Continent® goes through a meticulous selection and segregation process, from the farm to the manufacturing of the end ingredient. Solae contracts with farmers to grow non-genetically modified soybeans exclusively.  Those beans are then segregated from genetically modified soybeans at every step in the harvesting, storage, transportation and de-hulling process.  Solae then carefully manages the manufacturing, packaging and storage of their products to ensure identity preservation of the non-genetically modified soy protein ingredients.

Solae just creeps me out. This “identity-preservation management” program actually means that 0.9% of the beans’ DNA can still be GMO, but this somehow conforms to EU standards and is labeled as non-GMO.

Solae deals primarily with soy, but not in a nice way. They’re all about modifying and trading in for profit, including swapping out portions of beef for soy protein (TVP/TSP), and so on. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about some soy protein, but not from a GMO source from a company that’s a joint venture of DuPont and Bunge Limited, who also deals heavily with Monsanto (all this from the Wikipedia article). What really bugs me is to see companies like this tout sustainability, while at the same time supporting meat and dairy industries. 8th Continent is actually owned by Stremick’s Heritage, who is somehow related to Soy and Rice Dream, but mainly produces a lot of real milk products, as well as this horrendous “Disney Milk.” Jamie Oliver would be horrified!

Of course, Silk is owned by Dean, and most brands have some ugly corporate conglomerate on top of them, but it’s worth looking into them when one get’s a chance, to see just where the connections lie. I applaud 8th Continent for not using GMO beans and having a vegan product, but is it really an ethical product? Only you as the consumer can make that decision. What’s your go-to dairy alternative?

Note: Here are two takes on Solae and their GMO/non-GMO soy, one from Vegan Dad, and the other from the GMO Journal and Solae and Monsanto’s venture to enhance Omega-3 fatty acids in soy beans.

  • Consumerd

    This all GMO-Mosanto shit freaks me out. So, what this all Mosanto corporation is trying to accomplish?

    • http://www.facebook.com/junkstylediva Inge Bird

      Monsanto wants to own the food supply. They are working on messing with all our seeds in order to patent them… farmers will be forced to buy from them since they will have a monopoly and can raise prices just like they do our gasoline. its all about $$$$$$

    • Jane Tsalagi

      They are putting small farms of business by patenting their gmo seeds which contaminate other crops. They often share investments with big pharma & politics, so if the food makes you ill, you buy their medicine, the cycle continues = complete profit.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/junkstylediva Inge Bird

    Thank you for doing the research. I have a coupon I got from Ralphs and was thinking about buying some of this soy milk. After reading your post, I decided to splurge and pay the extra $1.50 and buy from a reputable company.

    • http://www.thenailthatsticksup.com/ Sam

      You’re very welcome! It can be tricky to find quality non-dairy milk. So Delicious is a pretty good company who have branched out into milks now.

  • Frazzalicious

    Well, I’m not a huge fan of soy at all, but as a parent of a child with autism who is thriving on a GFCF diet and must rely partially on WIC, we have no choice but to use this product. The one thing that stresses me out is that you mentioned swapping beef for soy protein. Can you elaborate a bit on this? I have alpha gal allergy, and I cannot take even the slightest risk of either dairy or beef touching my food or it’s a full blown anaphylactic reaction. As I am still EBFing a nine month old, I too receive WIC and this is my only non-dairy option.

  • Sarah May

    They no longer say they don’t use GMOs! HOWEVER, Silk is part of the Non-GMO Verified Project! http://www.8thcontinent.com/company/the-difference/our-beans/

    • Jane Tsalagi

      last I checked their site faqs, it still said gmo free on original at least

  • Raj

    Main issue is Carrageenan that they use in Soy Milk/Almond Milk and many other products.