Dear Umbra,

I don’t know if you’ll have time to answer this question, but while purchasing 8th Continent soymilk my husband noticed that there was Solae in it. After some research on the Internet, we discovered that Solae is made by DuPont and is a genetically engineered soybean, but we were unable to find anything negative about it. Do you know anything about Solae and if it is dangerous?

Sincerely,

Heather Anne
Sacramento, Calif.

Dearest Heather Anne,

Hello, and welcome to my little corner of the Internet, where I have nothing but time to answer your questions. (If I use the bowling alley during business hours, the staff upstairs can’t concentrate.) Unfortunately, I couldn’t learn much more than you already did about Solae. It’s a venture of DuPont Protein Technologies and General Mills. It’s a trademark brand of soy product. It’s an attempt to rake in the bucks associated with all things soyish these days (“may help heart disease,” says the Food and Drug Administration, and multinational conglomerates run like pigs to the trough). It has its own marketing campaign. The information I could find did not indicate that the product was genetically modified, although DuPont does tout mysterious “processing” techniques that increase certain nutrients. Mayhap this modest column and the thousands of letters to corporate headquarters it will doubtless provoke will encourage the company to come forward with clearer information.

Now, certain people would call what I’m about to say “weak thinking” or “nonscientific,” and those people are free to eat whatever they wish. It’s my opinion that any product originating from a place called “DuPont Protein Technologies” is not a food I care to eat. DuPont, the world’s largest chemical company, bought Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the world’s largest seed company and a major developer of biotechnology. That’s what we call a one-two punch, and the best response to that kind of punch is to dodge it. We don’t know what kind of “protein technology” is used in the making of Solae. The product only recently came on the market, and there’s not much information out there. So … why eat it? Especially when it comes from such an odious source?

I’d like to take this time to highly recommend a little fringe group called Greenpeace and its True Food Network. Among other excellent services, the True Food website maintains a shopping list that details which foods contain genetically modified ingredients and which do not. Please, forget all about 8th Continent soymilk and peruse the plentiful alternatives.

Your free agent,
Umbra