Sunrider Corp. and the state Department of Agriculture have agreed the company must find a domestic source of less contaminated raw soy to use in Sunrider food suppliments. The question is where.
"We've contacted 10 suppliers so far, and no one can give us what we need," Sunrider spokesman Michael Clapier said.The state Department of Agriculture closed Sunrider's Orem plant March 14 after finding a third case of salmonella bacteria contamination since the plant began operation Feb. 1. The cease-and-desist order is still in effect. Sunrider had built the plant after contamination was found in its previous plant.
"We weren't sure what the problem was at first, so we hired a specialist to design a new plant. It turned out the problem was the raw soy we imported," Clapier said.
"Other products don't have the problem because they use soy that has been heated. The bacteria is killed, but some of the nutrients are destroyed too. We use raw soy to keep the full nutritional value in our product."
Dale Yamnik, compliance officer with the state Department of Agriculture, agreed that processed soy is much safer.
"Soy is a common ingredient in animal feed and some ground meats. It appears on the label and is a safe meat extender. But that is soy that has been treated.
"The untreated soy from Taiwan has been a problem from the beginning. Sunrider fought the change for a long time, but now they have decided to give in."