UPDATE:UPDATE:UPDATE: Confirmation has been received that Bean Me Up soymilk and tofu are vegan, the filtering cloth is nylon. So it is now back in the shopping trolley. Thank you SAFE for the detective work.
Sometimes it is hard to know about the processes that many of our foods go through before reaching our cupboard or fridge, processes that you wouldn’t even think to question until something triggers you to look into it a bit further; well this happened to me.
I was listening to a Radio NZ podcast on the processing of Bean Me Up Soymilk which is made locally here in Christchurch, and was finding it quite interesting until the moment the product came out of the heat tank – you see, it goes through a filter, and I thought she said ‘silk filter from Japan’ – the noise from the machine was quite loud so I may have heard incorrectly. Anyway, right then I knew I had to find out.
It took quite a few attempts at phoning before I actually managed to speak to someone for clarification. They advised me that it was silk and I replied “so it is not suitable for vegans then” and she said “oh hang on” and went and spoke to the person who operates the heat tank and he said “I’m not sure if it is silk or nylon, it could be nylon but I am not sure”. She also mentioned that “everyone does it that way” – but does she mean that the filtering is done by everyone or the use of silk is done by everyone? Do others use silk, nylon, cheesecloth or muslin?
So now I am left without a definative answer from Bean Me Up, do they use silk or nylon? Why would they say they used silk on the podcast if this may or may not be correct, wouldn’t that be false advertising? Shouldn’t they know? – anyway, until I am 100% sure that it is vegan it is off my shopping list, I can always make my own, or use something else, there are always other options (I must admit I have since got a real liking for Rice Milk).
I was buying the soymilk because of my stance on the dairy industry only to find out that I might be supporting the exploitation of silkworms – the silkworms that are exploited by being boiled alive to get the silk out, which I also find abhorrent. And what about their soy yoghurt which is advertised on the web as a vegan dairy replacement? Does it go through a filter? I am not sure – something for me to pursue at a later date perhaps.
UPDATE:UPDATE:UPDATE: Confirmation has been received that Bean Me Up soymilk and tofu are vegan, the filtering cloth is nylon.
But it just points out to ethical, compassionate vegans the importance of not assuming something is vegan just because the list of ingredients is ok, but to also question the process as well. This got me to thinking about other things, this would also apply to products in cans or glass jars that have labels – what is the glue made from? And speaking of glue, how about the glue used in non-leather shoes? And another of my peeves is the word ‘organic’ – the producers consider blood and bone to be ‘organic’, so unless you know who grows your vegetables be very wary of that word. I will not be a part of the exploitation of innocent lives and I feel that the only option is to question everything, and I will not stop questioning, and I will not find it a burden, non-human animals are too important for me, way, way too important to do anything but question – and in the answers I will have something to pass on to others, because knowing what is in our food and the process it goes through to get to our plate is important.