In case you need a reminder as to why I am going soy free, read here: Soy Free – Part 1
In Part 2, we’re going to discuss everywhere you need to look to find soy hiding in your diet (hint: it’s everywhere) and specifically how to identify some of the trickier ways that it can hide.
Luckily for consumers, the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that “all packaged food products sold in the U.S. that contain soy as an ingredient must list the word “Soy” on the label.”
As a result, all of the information we need is right there on the label, although sometimes it’s hiding in plain sight.
First, avoid these foods (taken from foodallergy.org):
- Soy (soy albumin, soy cheese, soy fiber, soy flour, soy grits, soy ice cream, soy milk, soy nuts, soy sprouts, soy yogurt
- Soybean (curd, granules)
- Soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate)
- Soy sauce
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
The above are all examples of soy foods. In other words, they are made directly from soybeans. This does not include foods that have soy (in some form) as an ingredient. Soy products can be found in just about everything including baked goods, canned tuna or meat, cereals, cookies, crackers, protein bars and powders, peanut butter or other nut butters, sauces and salad dressings…and the list goes on and on. And foods that can be contaminated by soy include nuts of all kinds, dried fruits, coffee, meat, and many others.
I suggest you get in the habit of looking at the back of every package or container you pick up. The first place to look is the allergy statement beginning with “Contains….” This would obviously mean that the product has soy in it.
But don’t stop there! It’s also important to know if the product has been contaminated by soy. In this case, it will say something to the effect of “This product was also processed in a facility that processes….”
These two places are the key to identifying whether or not you’re eating soy. And sadly it’s not as simple as buying a product that says “Soy Free” on the front of the label!
To elaborate, I was looking to replace the dark chocolate bar that I used for Coco-Nutty Dark Bark. I previously used Lindt 90% dark, but then, to my great disappointment, I read the allergy statement on the label:
As I was browsing the dark chocolate section at Market of Choice, I found that most of them contained soy lecithin…an obvious flaw. One brand, pictured below, actually stated that their bar was free of soy lecithin. I thought I had found what I was looking for, but luckily I decided to read the back anyway. This same bar then said “Processed in a facility that also processes soy”.
Technically this bar did not lie to the consumer. They state that their bar does not contain soy lecithin and that’s true. However it still feels deceitful to me. If someone truly has an allergy to soy, this could have devastating consequences. For someone like me who is not allergic but just wants to avoid it, it is just an annoyance (but one that I won’t overlook).
Since we’re dealing with potentially dangerous allergens (and it’s not just me hating on soy), I find it to be pretty unbelievable that a company will state “Soy Free” or “No Soy Lecithin” on the front of their label but then have to put “Processed in a facility that also processes soy” on the back. You bastards.
In fact, if you look at one of the examples of a food label above, it clearly states that their product is “Peanut Free” right above the allergy statement where it then says “This product was processed in a facility that processes peanuts.” And peanut allergies can often be so severe that any exposure is enough to result in anaphylaxis.
Bottom-Line: Be an informed consumer. Know where to look and what to look for.