For the plant-based “Impossible Burger” that bleeds like real meat, venture capitalists have forked over millions, and high-profile chefs have called in orders for their swanky eateries. But the Food and Drug Administration, it seems, has chewed it up and spit out safety concerns.
The agency informed Impossible Foods, the company behind the famous faux burger, that it has not proven the safety of the food additive being used to simulate blood and meat-like taste—a protein from the roots of soybean plants called soy leghemoglobin. The protein has not been used in foods before and may be an allergen, the agency said. The concern was revealed in documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request filed by environmental and consumer groups, including the ETC Group. The documents were then reviewed by the New York Times.
In a memo that the agency prepared for a phone conversation with Impossible Foods on August 3, 2015, FDA officials wrote: