I don't know many vegans that aren't in love with nutritional yeast. Many of us affectionately refer to it as ‘nooch'. Whether you just use it for vegan cheese recipes like these, or you put it on everything, it could be going away.
One of our most popular posts of all time was 7 awesome recipes for nutritional yeast. Vegans eat it by the container full. It's alarming to know it could disappear completely, or at the very least become more expensive. All of this is coming as a result of how it's made.
Most vegans have no idea where nutritional yeast comes from or how it is made. Here's a little nutritional yeast primer courtesy of wikipedia.
“Nutritional yeast is produced by culturing a yeast in a nutrient medium for several days. The primary ingredient in the growth medium is glucose, often from either sugarcane or beet molasses. When the yeast is ready, it is killed (deactivated) with heat and then harvested, washed, dried and packaged.”
It is this culturing process that is getting the EPA involved. There are certain gasses emitted during the process of fermentation. This happens with beer, sauerkraut, and all other fermented products. And the EPA is working on rules to crack down on some industries not affected before.
I think most vegans are very aware of environmental issues like greenhouse gasses and global warming. The question will really be if these new proposed measures are really necessary or not. If they are then by all means implement them. We only have one earth. According to Veg News:
“The proposed regulations would set stricter emission standards and record keeping practices of producers of nutritional yeast, a group the EPA calls “volatile organic compounds” (VOC). Should the new regulations take effect, VOC producers will have to provide detailed accounts of the fermentation process of each batch of yeast, conduct annual performance tests, and submit electronic reports of their compliance to a continuous emissions monitoring system.”
Will the demands and increased cost to comply make companies producing nutritional yeast stop making it? It's unlikely but it could happen. With the added man hours required with the new regulations you could definitely expect the price to go up. So maybe we should all stock up now?
It is worth noting that while the EPA contemplates more regulation and burden on vegan foods and fermentation, the animal agriculture industry continues to emit more greenhouses gasses than all forms of transportation combined. Maybe you should concentrate your efforts there EPA.
You can read the entire list of proposed regulations changes and restrictions by clicking here.