Eden Foods bills itself as the “oldest natural and organic food company in America” and is best known for its EdenSoy line of organic soy milk.
Most of Eden’s products are organic and nearly all are vegan.
It’s a very familiar brand in health food stores and marketing studies have shown it to be a favorite of female and liberal customers.
These customers, to put it mildly, are not pleased with the news that Eden hired the Thomas More Law Center to file a lawsuit against Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and other government parties, associated with the Obama administration’s rule on contraception.
The lawsuit claims the contraception rule violates Eden Foods owner Michael Potter’s religious freedom under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring him to provide his employees with medical coverage for contraception.
Potter believes contraception “almost always involves immoral and unnatural practices.”
Irin Carmon at Salon.com launched the story yesterday (April 11, 2013). Predictably enough, it has gone viral, with a massive outcry on Facebook and other social media.
In brief, protesters are not pleased by Eden’s pursuit of a right-wing ideological agenda and its espousal of Catholic church teachings on the evils of contraception. Thousands of people have already voiced their intent to stop buying Eden products, including Facebook commenter Cheryl DeMarco who summed up the issues particularly well. “Now that you’ve sued to avoid providing birth control coverage to your employees based on bogus science, I don’t trust you to provide me with clean food based on good science. I won’t be buying your products.”
As yet, the debaters have not pointed out the supreme irony of Eden Foods — one of the top manufacturers of soy milk — coming out against birth control. All soy milks — including organic soy milks — include high levels of the plant estrogens known as isoflavones. Over the past seven decades, scientists have linked isoflavones to reproductive problems in all animal tested, including the human animal. For women, soy contributes to anovulatory cycles and other symptoms indicative of infertility; for men, it causes adverse effects on the quality and quantity of sperm.
The illustration posted by Salon.com — and posted here — was surely not intended to be literal. But yes, this product can make birth control unnecessary!
Indeed, in the 1970s the World Health Organization funded a $5 million study through the University of Chicago and sent researchers out in the field in search of all-natural contraceptives. The idea was to find a safe and effective alternative to the high-dose birth control pills of that era. Researchers visited dozens of native cultures to discover which herbs and plants were being used to prevent pregnancy, examined hundreds of plants and analyzed their phytochemicals. Although they found many contraceptive plants — soy, prominently among them — they ultimately abandoned the project. Not because “natural” methods didn’t work, but because the side effects were similar to — and just as serious — as those of the birth control pill.
The obvious conclusion here is that customers who consume EdenSoy “soy milks” are unwittingly —and almost certainly unwillingly — swallowing liquid birth control. Lest any readers at this point think soy milk might a good “all natural” form of contraception, however, my advice is don’t count on it! Soy isoflavone content varies from carton to carton, and any contraceptive effects would depend as well on the amount and duration of consumption.
Eden Foods furthermore has a shabby track record in terms of supporting the health of babies. In 1990 the FDA investigated after a two-month old girl in California was hospitalized with severe malnutrition. Her parents had fed her EdenSoy brand soy milk instead of infant formula. Because of this and a similar incident in Arkansas involving the SoyMoo brand of soy milk, the FDA issued a warning on June 13, 1990, stating soy milk was “grossly lacking in the nutrients needed for infants.” The FDA asked — but unfortunately has never required — all manufacturers to put warning labels on soy milk so that they would not be used as formula substitutes.
Since these tragic incidents, most brands of soy milk — but not EdenSoy — include warning labels in tiny print on their packaging.
Sadly, babies continue to be hospitalized and die because of EdenSoy and other brands of soy milk. At least four couples have been found guilty of the deaths of their babies fed soy milk in lieu of soy infant formula. Many of these parents were health conscious, well-meaning vegans who truly thought they were doing a good thing for their babies by choosing organic soy milk instead of commercial soy formula. The myth that soy is a health food and Eden’s irresponsibility led to these tragic deaths.
How many more unnecessary and tragic cases of malnutrition and deaths will occur before Eden takes the right action? For me, the “right action” is clear: Boycott Eden Foods.
For more information about Eden’s lawsuit:
For more information about soy formula and the effect soy milk and other products containing soy vegetable protein on reproduction, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food.