Impossible Burger Ingredient Gets Pushback from the FDA

The Impossible Burger, a veggie burger that looks so much like the traditional beef burger that it even bleeds, has quickly been added to the menus of the best restaurants in the country. 

Impossible Foods, the company that created the beloved veggie burger has received $250 million in investment.

However, the ingredient soy leghemoglobin, which is made from soybean plants is getting regulatory pushback from the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) 

The plant-based company has requested that the F.D.A. to confirm that the ingredient is safe to eat, but the agency has not done so. 

 “The New York Times” has reported that the F.D.A. is concerned that the ingredient has never actually been eaten by humans and may be an allergen. 

“F.D.A. believes the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of soy leghemoglobin for consumption,” wrote agency officials in a memo to Impossible Foods on Aug. 3, 2015, “nor do they point to a general recognition of safety.” 

The F.D.A. did not state that the burger is unsafe, but Impossible Foods is planning to resubmit its petition to the agency in an effort to eliminate any concerns about its product. 

The privately-owned company claims that the ingredient is in fact “natural” and in a molecule found in every living organism.

“The Impossible Burger is safe,” said Rachel Konrad, a spokeswoman for Impossible Foods in a statement. “A key ingredient of the Impossible Burger — heme — is an ancient molecule found in every living organism.” 

Impossible Foods and Hampton Creek with its much more challenging F.D.A. issues prove how the food industry versus the tech industry is much more regulated. The F.D.A. can make or break a brand.

But these food companies still have a sense of urgency similar to those app companies in Silicon Valley area. The demand for vegan and plant-based products is high and these companies are all pushing full steam ahead to compete in the market.

“This rush to market is the Silicon Valley mind-set,” said Michael Hansen, a food safety expert to the “NYT.” “They think because they’re doing something disruptive, the regulations that apply to other companies don’t apply to them.” 

Do you think Impossible Foods can overcome this F.D.A. challenge? Will this deter customers from ordering the Impossible Burger?

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