Impossible Foods’ Plant Burger Not Impressing FDA So Far

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The company, Impossible Foods, has been working on a plant-based burger that is touted to taste like real beef. According to Impossible Foods Inc. founder, Patrick O. Brown, the plant burger was invented to solve one of the most significant environmental problems on the planet– the production of beef. Made from soybean root and genetically engineered yeast, this burger was created to look, feel, and taste like a real burger without having to raise and kill a cow. The magic ingredient of the plant-based beef is heme–a source of iron that gives the red color to blood. But the company discovered a plant-based heme that offers the Impossible burger its beef taste and mouthfeel.

FDA Not Impressed by Impossible Plant Burger

While the Impossible burger is the most exciting discovery for vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based dieters, the US Food and Drug Administration was hardly impressed by it. The FDA even indicated in their report that the company has not yet met the mark. The discovery of the plant-based heme and using it in food production is something that needs more research on.

But according to Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director for the Environmental Defense Fund, the plant-based heme has many great potential uses. However, it is shrouded in a lot of controversies. Studies have shown that people who consume too much red meat are at risk of colon cancer. As heme makes the meat red, some researchers believe that heme may be the culprit. But with regards to plant-based heme, researchers still need further evidence to find the missing link. But Patrick Brown thinks otherwise. Reports on the possible connection of heme to cancer are rubbish, according to him.

Solution to Beef Addiction

Didn’t you know that 30% of the earth’s land is utilized in the production of beef? Cattle raising requires massive amounts of inputs like water. Brown developed the Impossible burger to tackle the environmental problems related to growing beef. Upon the introduction of the Impossible burger, investors have responded with a lot of enthusiasm. In fact, the company has raised more than $400 million. People who have invested in this product include Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla. Even big enterprises are also pitching in such as Singapore-based Temasek Holdings and Google Ventures.

Having said this, plant meat that tastes almost like real meat is one of the hottest food trends in the market today. It is not only famous among vegans and vegetarians but also flexitarians. In fact, the sales of plant-based meat are expected to grow by 17% annually according to CoBank.

Impossible Foods is Not Giving Up

While the FDA is hardly impressed by the plant burger, Impossible Foods is not giving up. In its recent attempt to satisfy the FDA, the company submitted a report that includes lab studies on rats being fed with large amounts of heme to prove that the plant-based heme is indeed safe for consumption. To date, the FDA is still currently reviewing the safety of the plant burger with heme.  But until proven otherwise, spokeswoman of Impossible Foods Inc., Rachel Conrad, noted that heme is safe to eat.

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