Viewpoint: FDA approval of ‘Impossible Burger’s’ key GMO ingredient is a huge step for sustainable food

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The “clean meat” revolution took a major step forward [on July 23] as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the Impossible Burger’s key ingredient as safe.

Although the Impossible Burger is already available in thousands of burger outlets across the US and Hong Kong, the earlier failure to obtain a “no further questions” assessment from the FDA allowed some activist groups to cast a shadow over the novel meat-replacement product, which uses a genetically engineered ingredient.

In contention is “heme,” the protein found in real meat that contains iron and leads to the sizzle and flavor that meat-lovers crave. Heme in the Impossible Burger is made from genetically engineered yeast, and although it is already found in numerous plants and animals some campaigners warned it might not be safe.

Related article:  As Chipotle struggles with poisoning crisis, it's under fire for GMO and sustainability claims

Yesterday, the FDA sought to put those safety concerns to rest.

“We have no questions at this time regarding Impossible Foods’ conclusion that soy leghemoglobin preparation is GRAS [generally recognized as safe] under its intended conditions of use to optimize flavor in ground beef analogue products intended to be cooked,” the FDA stated in its letter.

The Impossible Burger uses about 75 percent less water, generates about 87 percent less greenhouse gases and requires around 95 percent less land than conventional ground beef from cows…Numerous scientific studies have found that beef, particularly pasture-fed beef, is the most environmentally destructive meat available.

Read full, original article: US agency deems Impossible Burger’s key GMO ingredient safe

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