What’s the future of meatless burgers and other ‘synthetic foods’?

Muufri is a synthetic milk product entirely animal-free

[Editor’s note: Jaqueline Rowarth is chief scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority of New Zealand]

Both Impossible Burger and Perfect Day involve the use of gene technologies. In the case of Perfect Day, genetic engineering was used to create a type of yeast that produces milk proteins. The creation of vegetarian rennet, ethical vanilla, and insulin use similar techniques. The final product is free of yeast, and so is ‘totally non-GMO’.

The Impossible Burger, however, is the subject of some debate as the genetically engineered heme has not previously been in the food supply. A report in August indicated that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had heard from the company that up to a quarter of its haem ingredient was composed of 46 “unexpected” additional proteins, some of which are unidentified and none of which were assessed for safety in the dossier.


Claims might have been made about free-range, grass-fed or chemical-free (meaning free from synthetic chemicals). But whatever, the point is that consumers can select to suit their preferences: they pay their money and take their choice.

They might follow perceived health benefits, taste buds, price, convictions or beliefs. But they can pick from a range of options, all of which are subject to regulatory controls in terms of chemical use so that the outcome is safe to eat.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post:  Is this synthetic food thing for real?

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