The Non-GMO Soybean

Tuesday November 15, 2016


The non-GMO soybean market faces many challenges, especially with seeds.  With a big emphasis on Genetically Modified soybeans in recent years, many seed companies have focused on GM varieties of seeds and were trying to phase out non-GMO seeds and pressure farmers to resist planting non-GMO soybean crops.

With non-GMO soybeans crops having high yields, there has become a supply and demand of this ever disappearing crop.  While many farmers distributors prefer to sell Genetically Modified seed to the industry every year, because it is more profitable to require them to purchase it yearly, there are some good non-GMO soybean seed varieties becoming available throughout Canada and the United States.  Diligent farmers and consumers are demanding more and more products using non-GMO soybeans.

There are many more large and small companies buying and demanding these non-GMO soybeans now.

How does a crop of non-GMO soybeans get transformed into edible spreads?

There is a process called expeller pressing. This is a natural way to extract oil from the original seeds and nuts. As many consumers are aware, even though ingredients may be non-GMO, often the processing of the raw ingredients is thrown into question.

This is not the case with expeller pressing of the soybean into spreads. This is a chemical free process (with an actual expeller press being pictured below) and the process is approved by the Non- GMO Project. This means no harmful chemicals are going into you or any soybean plants. The end result is a much healthier way than how traditional butters or genetically modified spreads are processed and created in factory. Mass produced and genetically modified margarines, butters and “natural tasting spreads” are processed from soybeans by extracting their oil using hexane. What is hexane? Well, it is a chemical. Hexane is found in some gasolines. It is also used in quite a few household and industrial cleaners and products. This hexane method has ample opportunity to harm animals and our own health. When hexane is being removed, it is heated to a very high temperature and can change flavour in some of the more delicate oils such as olive oil. This is why non-GMO supporters refrain from using this method and focus processing efforts into a more traditional, non- chemical way to bring healthy products to consumer’s table.  To become a healthier planet and people, there are options, such as expeller pressing that removes the risk and harm but still delivers quality products that can be certified by the non-GMO project. No harm needs to be done to creatures or plants. This expeller method also gets close to 100% of the oil out of a seed or nut. The heat issue is not an issue when it comes to expeller pressing. There are other, inferior ways that only get 65% of the oil out and bring down the quality after multiple pressing of the seeds. Some of these processes also have the extreme heat problem that can change the taste of some oils. Again, all of these processes can be challenged by simplifying the ingredient and process. Non-GMO soybeans and expeller pressing – a healthy alternative.

By Earth Balance