Hexane is used to cheaply and efficiently separate soy oil from soy protein. Many products such as veggie burgers and infant formula, and many of the leading brands of fruit & nut bars, contain soy protein or soy isolate that is processed with hexane.
Hexane is a petrochemical solvent – a hydrocarbon byproduct of gasoline processing. It is synthetic, neurotoxic, explosive, and is listed by the EPA as a hazardous air pollutant. Currently, products that are labeled “all natural” or “made with Organic ingredients” can legally include soy treated with hexane.
The available information about hexane shows that there are millions of tons of hexane emissions being released annually — two thirds of which are from grain processors and the rest from petrochemical plants and tire factories. Tragically hexane-related leaks, accidents and explosions have killed over 200 workers, and injured over 600 in the past 9 years. And prolonged exposure to hexane can result in serious neurological issues for workers.
There is very little testing and research about how much hexane residue is present in food and just how dangerous it is. The consumer watchdog organization, Cornucopia Institute, has been pressing the FDA to research hexane so consumers can make informed decisions.
We don’t think that hexane is a sensible ingredient, we only put food in our snacks.