Soybean is a type of legume native to some of the same places that hemp was first found. Like corn and some other crops of long domestication, the relationship between the soybean crops of today and their wild-growing cousins of the past can no longer be traced with any degree of certainty. In fact, the original soybean plant did not grow vertically like the present soybean verities. The original soybean plants grew as a vine-like ground crawler. All of the original characteristics of the original soybean plant has been lost in today’s modern version.
Like hemp, soybean is classed as an oilseed. The bulk of soybeans are grown for oil. The oil is extracted using a solvent based extraction process and the defatted soy mean is used for animal feed. Very small amounts of modern crop production is used directly in food for humans such as tofu or soy milk. Soybean does appear in a large variety of processed foods.
Currently approximately 80% of all soybeans grown commercially are of a genetically modified verity. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is among the largest processors of soybeans and soy products. ADM along with DOW, DuPont and Monsanto support the industry trade associations United Soybean Board (USB) and Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA). These trade associations have increased the consumption of soy products dramatically in recent years. The dramatic increase is largely credited to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of health claims for soy which very likely is unfounded. Since the bulk of the soy grown in the US is GMO variety, the chief beneficiaries of the increase are the biotech seed companies. Dr. Jane E. Henney who was the FDA commissioner at the time, now sits on the board of biotech giant Astra Zeneca. Many top agency officials from the Bush Administration, have been under criticism for close ties to industry and possible financial conflicts of interest. The former USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Daniel Robert Glickman, also left to accept seats on the boards of soy related companies including Hain Foods. From 2001 to 2004, food manufacturers in the US introduced over 1600 new foods with soy as an ingredient, averaging 400 new products per year, according to the Mintelâ€™s Global New Products Database. From 1992 to 2003, soyfoods sales have experienced a 15% compound annual growth rate, increasing from $300 million to $3.9 billion over 11 years, as new soyfood categories have been introduced, soyfoods have been repositioned in the market place, and new customers have selected soy for health and philosophical reasons. Dramatic growth followed the FDA approval of a health claim linking soy, and soybean oils, with heart disease reduction.
Amazing how this world works isn’t it. So while soy enjoys double digit growth because the FDA says it helps heart health, the real wonder plant, the quality source for heart disease reducing EFAs, the non-GMO plant, forgotten for decades in the west is totally marginalized and ignored. What plant is that, hemp of course.
So if you are looking for the benefits of EFAs in your diet and want to be assured of a non-GMO source, hemp is your answer. There has been no genetic modification of hemp crops anywhere in the world. Hemp still grows as it did when it was first cultivated tens of thousands of years ago. Through selective breeding the plant stock has gone 2 ways, one toward verities that produce very little THC, and to verities that produce high THC. This is not Genetic Modification, this is simply old fashioned selective breeding, something nature does on it’s own.