Impossible Foods Wins Ruling to Continue Key Additive Use

Impossible Foods won a court ruling that allows it to continue using a key additive in its popular meat substitute, over the safety objections of a food-safety group.

By Bob Van Voris and Deena Shanker

Word Count: 317
(Bloomberg) — 

The federal appeals court in San Francisco Monday upheld a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of soy leghemoglobin as a color additive in Impossible’s imitation beef patties. The 2019 decision cleared a hurdle for Impossible to extend its burger sales from restaurants into grocery stores beginning that year.

Soy leghemoglobin, or “heme,” is a red, genetically modified ingredient that gives the Impossible Burger its meat-like flavor. Impossible has long touted its “heme” as the key to its meat-like flavor, but its use has meant additional regulatory hurdles and challenges in the U.S. and has kept doors to major markets, including China and the European Union, closed. Beyond Meat, its primary competitor, often points to its GMO-free ingredient list in its marketing.

The market for plant-based meat is forecast to grow to $450 billion and make up a quarter of the $1.8 trillion meat market by 2040, according to consulting firm Kearney, which also sees animal protein peaking in 2025.

The Center for Food Safety didn’t immediately respond to an email on the ruling.

Read More: America’s Biggest Meat Company Gives Faux Burgers Another Shot

In its ruling, the court denied the Center for Food Safety’s request to overturn the FDA decision. Two judges said the FDA applied the correct standard in reviewing the safety of soy leghemoglobin and that the agency’s decision was supported by “substantial evidence.” They also said the FDA could rely on a study commissioned by Impossible.

The third judge declined to consider whether CFS had raised valid concerns, saying the group lacked standing to challenge the FDA ruling.

The case is Center for Food Safety v. FDA, 20-70747, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).

(Updates to add detail of court opinion; an earlier version corrected the size of the meat market)
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Lance Bloch says:

    Why are we not surprised? The FDA has several ex-Gates Foundation execs in its top management. Non-meat meat is another of Gates’s ideas to ‘save the planet’ while making a fortune. Pity that these will be covered in chemicals like the poisonous glyphosates that The Foundation pushes and claims to be safe. And the FDA allows, despite the Monsanto Trials showing even Monsanto knew 40 years ago that glyphosate are carcinogenic. But the FDA is an industry lackey, not exactly concerned with the people’s health…

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