The search for truth goes on: yesterday morning, I blogged a study from the Cornucopia Institute on the use of the neurotoxin hexane in production of soyburgers, which sparked a controversy in the comment thread about the science, focusing mostly on the question of whether any of the volatile hexane would still be present after the burgers made it to your shelf. For the record: I'm dubious about this objection, since in the absence of a study to the contrary, I think it makes sense to assume that the substances you put into food during production are still present at consumption. And of course, the release of hexane into the environment as part of the production of these "healthy alternatives" undermines the whole cause of improving health.
I posted a followup last night, after Xeni emailed me with a tip that the Cornucopia study had been funded by an agriculture think-tank/lobbying group called the Weston A Price Foundation. Based on that tip, I believed that I'd been had — just another example of a corporate subsidized "science" that concludes that the company's products are just dandy (or that its competitors' wares are bad for you).
But I was wrong. I've just spoken to Kiera Butler from Mother Jones, who has followed up with Cornucopia. Cornucopia promises that the Price Foundation did not fund its research (and further, that none of its research is ever substantially funded by any concern or individual), and the principal researcher repeated her concern that there is no evidence that the hexane boils off before consumption, and that in any event, "health food" companies have no business emitting terrible toxic waste into the atmosphere (here's her update).
And I agree. And we were wrong. Xeni and I offer our sincerest apologies to both Cornucopia and the Price Foundation for publishing inaccurate information.