It’s tough to even know where to start with this one, but here goes.
A company called Impossible Foods, with $257 million in venture capital funding, recently launched its fake, genetically engineered Impossible Burger—even though, the FDA (supposedly in charge of food safety) can’t say if the burger’s “secret sauce”—soy leghemoglobin—is safe.
How can Impossible Foods put soy leghemoglobin in food if the FDA hasn’t deemed it safe? The New York Times explains:
The F.D.A.’s approval is not required for most new ingredients. Companies can hire consultants to run tests, and they have no obligation to inform the agency of their findings, a process of self-affirmation.”
While you let that sink in . . . here’s the other half of that story. Impossible Foods asked the FDA to weigh in on the safety of its “secret sauce” ingredient, even though it wasn’t required to. The agency did. This is what regulators wrote in a memo to Impossible Foods:
“F.D.A. believes the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of soy leghemoglobin for consumption,” nor do they point to a general recognition of safety.”
Despite that statement, the Impossible Burger went to market. Because, as it turns out, a company can introduce into the food system a product or ingredient that the FDA says may not be safe—as long as the FDA doesn’t say the product is unsafe.
That’s one issue with the Impossible Burger. Here’s the other. According to Max Goldberg, author of “Living Maxwell,” Impossible Foods uses genetic engineering to make the secret sauce that the FDA won’t say is safe. In his column, which appeared on the same day as the New York Times article, Goldberg raised the question of genetic engineering, and whether Impossible Foods is misleading consumers. Goldberg explains how the Impossible Burger is made: