We couldn’t have said it better ourselves . . .
“American organic food is at the crossroads. Will people accept a veneer of “organic” and an erosion of what it means to be “organic”, or will they use the Soy Report to redirect their dollars demanding purity and quality? If the compromise of Organic Standards continues, there won’t be companies like Eden Foods.” – Eden Foods President Michael Potter
Our friend Bob Mayer sent us a link to The Cornucopia Institute’s comprehensive report on today’s soy industry called “Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the National and Organic Soy Foods Industry”. After evaluating 62 organic brands, the Institute found only seven that met the requirements for its highest category.
Eden Foods came in at number one scoring 995 out of 1000 possible points – the ONLY National Brand in the highest category. Other top companies included Unisoya, Vermont Soy, Small Planet, FarmSoy, Twin Oaks and Green Cuisine.
Click here to see the Full Soy Report Card and see how the brands you shop measure up.
The Institute rated each brand on ten critical criteria:
The highest rating in this category goes to farmer-owned businesses that grow their own organic soybeans, then to farmer-owned or worker-owned cooperatives. Family businesses and other privately held companies are next, followed by publicly traded corporations.
In this category, companies that buy only organic soybeans for their products rate higher than companies that buy both conventional and organic.
Companies that are full and open in their disclosure of sourcing, ingredients, and other practices such as GMO testing receive the highest rating in this category. Partial disclosures are rated lower.
In this category, companies that are certified by ethical and trustworthy certifiers receive a higher rating than those that use Quality Assurance International. QAI has been involved in numerous legal complaints and major industry scandals of organic standards in the past.
Organic Product Line
Companies that manufacture only organic products receive a higher rating in this category than those involved in both organic and conventional production.
Companies that manufacture their products in-house have more control over production and therefore receive a higher rating in this category than companies that use a co-packer. Co-packers owned and operated by the company also receive a high rating.
Sourcing and Farmer Relationships
The highest score for this category goes to companies that buy directly from North American organic family farmers and visit the farms.
The next highest rating is for companies that also buy directly from North American farmers but do not visit the farms. The next tier, also highly rated, is for companies that purchase soybeans from a broker who purchases only North American soybeans and is transparent (participated in the project); or companies whose co-packer purchases directly from farmers and was transparent. Secretive business models represent something wholly different from what consumers expect from trusted organic brands.
Next are companies that purchase soybeans from a broker who claims to provide only North American soybeans, but was not open and transparent and therefore would not allow The Cornucopia Institute to verify these claims. Low ratings go to companies that purchase soybeans from brokers sourcing internationally, such as from China and Brazil, and even lower are the companies whose copacker or broker would not disclose information.
Companies that gave no information about their sourcing received a zero on this criterion.
Prevention of GMO Contamination
The highest score in this category goes to companies that perform GMO contamination testing on every incoming load. Slightly lower scores go to companies that are enrolled in the Non-GMO Project or have their own internal monitoring program in place, or that perform testing occasionally. If no testing is done, the company receives a low score.
The highest score in this category goes to companies that use only organic food ingredients to flavor their products (or use no flavors). For example, this means using organic vanilla extract and organic cocoa powder in soymilk. A slightly lower score, but still high, is for companies that use organic “natural flavors.” Companies that use nonorganic natural flavors that are allowed under the federal organic standards receive a lower rating.
Companies that use organic soy lecithin receive the highest rating in this category. Organic soy lecithin is available, but a loophole in the organic standards allows manufacturers to use the hexane-extracted conventional lecithin in organic foods. Companies using conventional soy lecithin receive a lower score.
We want to thank the members of The Cornucopia Institute for all of their great research and reporting on this issue so our customers, and all consumers, can make informed decisions when shopping at their local organic supermarket. Despite the evidence that quantity over quality seems to be the M.O. for food companies these days, there are still a few of us who are willing to stand up for what is right.
We are proud to say that we have been carrying Eden Foods products since we first opened in 1997 and we will continue to support them and their great efforts on behalf of true organics. It’s refreshing to find another company that cares as much about organic standards as we do.
Fun Facts about Eden Foods!
– They are the first and only organic food manufacturer to use BPA free liner in their canned goods.
– We sell Eden Organic Beans in our stores at 99¢ per can. That’s lower than conventional brands!