Key Ingredient of Impossible Burger Finally FDA Approved for Direct-to-Consumer Sales
FDA approval was the final hurdle that prevented Impossible Foods from entering the direct-to-consumer grocery market.
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After overcoming a series of regulatory hurdles, it appears that Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat alternative is finally making its way to grocery stores in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the additive soy leghemoglobin in raw foods for sale directly to consumers, allowing Impossible Foods to move from selling its products only in restaurants and supermarkets throughout the country.
Although Impossible Foods has been selling its plant-based burger products in US restaurants for several years, it only received full and clear FDA approval in mid-2018. And even then, approval was significantly limited to ” ground beef analog products intended for cooking “, which means that the raw product could not yet be sold directly to consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the key ingredient in the Impossible Burger vegetarian diet. It is a big win for Silicon Valley-based Impossible Foods as it expands its product distribution.
The ingredient, leghemoglobin soup, releases a protein called heme that alters the meat’s texture, color and taste. Just as Impossible Burger gained popularity and reached, The New York Times reported last year that the FDA was concerned that the liquid ingredients were not being used by humans.
In a letter to Impossible Foods reported Monday, the FDA considered the liquid leghemoglobin GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, in its final review.
“Get the letter without question going above and beyond our strict adherence to all national food-safety regulations,” Impossible Foods founder and CEO Patrick O. Brown said in a statement. “We have been monitoring safety and approvals from day one, and they will be an integral part of our company culture.”
Bad Food has expanded despite last year’s controversy. Not only are there good restaurants, you can also find meat exchanges at places like the White Castle and the Oakland Alameda Coliseum. This spring, Unhealthy Food made its first foray into the international market by expanding to Hong Kong.
The FDA decision is also good news for the Impossible Foods big names, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google Ventures and UBS.
The big hurdle that slowed the launch was related to a key compound that made Impossible Foods’ product unique: soy leghemoglobin. Heme is a molecule found in almost every living thing on the planet, and it is this molecule that Impossible Foods suggests that creates the distinctive red, bloody taste and texture of meat. It can be conveniently harvested from the roots of soy plants in the form of soy leghemoglobin. But even more efficiently, Impossible Foods developed a method that allows soy hemoglobin to be produced by a specially designed form of yeast.
In the 2018 FDA approval, the regulatory agency classified soy leghemoglobin as a color additive, meaning it needed additional premarket approval before it could be sold directly to consumers. Now, pending a 30-day period to assess public objections, the FDA finally approved soy leghemoglobin.
“As these new products and ingredient sources come to market, the FDA has a responsibility to provide appropriate regulatory oversight to protect public health by ensuring that these new foods and food ingredients are safe,” says Dennis Keefe, director of the FDA Office. of the safety of food additives. “As part of these efforts, today the FDA approved Impossible Foods’ color additive petition for the use of soy leghemoglobin in alternative non-animal protein sources, such as veggie burgers. After a thorough review of the available scientific information, the FDA has concluded that this use is safe. This action will allow the use of soy leghemoglobin in uncooked beef analog products sold directly to consumers, such as in retail food establishments. ”
Production is increasing at the company’s Oakland plant
The FDA announcement comes at a good time for Impossible Foods, ahead of a big deal to launch the Impossible Whopper at Burger Kings in the US starting August 8. While legally the company will likely be able to move its product to grocery stores starting in early September, it is unclear how quickly supplies will be able to meet the dramatically increased demand.
Through much of 2019, the company has struggled to increase production to match the growing popularity of its plant-based burgers. The new funding and increased manufacturing capacity promise to expand the offering to at least consistently deliver hamburgers to restaurants that already serve the product, but it may be some time before Impossible Foods can bring their hamburgers to markets. supermarkets and grocery stores across the country. Impossible Foods says it will launch “in select retail locations in September.”Despite a flashy CES 2019 debut for version 2.0 of its Impossible Burger, Impossible Foods has only been able to sell its plant-based fake meat patties to restaurants and fast food places. But the FDA has finally given its approval for a key blood-simulating ingredient that makes the Impossible burger look, feel and taste like beef, and as of September 4, the company can finally sell it directly to consumers.
Although it was one of the first plant-based burgers to make headlines for being almost indistinguishable from a burger made from real beef, consumers have only been able to find products from Impossible Foods competitors, such as Beyond Burger, in retail stores. groceries. Beyond Meat’s products are definitely a step up from the often disappointing veggie burgers of the past, but it’s the Impossible Burger that manages to almost perfectly emulate cooked ground beef, both in flavor and with simulated blood that is made possible by one ingredient. called soy leghemoglobin. And it is that ingredient that the US Food and Drug Administration finally approved as safe for use in raw products that consumers can purchase directly, despite previous concerns that it is a potential allergen.
Last year, the FDA tentatively approved soy leghemoglobin as a safe color additive, but limited its availability to the masses through restaurants. The Impossible Burger was available at fast food chains like Red Robin and White Castle, and by the end of 2019, it will also be sold at all Burger King locations across the country. But as of September 4, Impossible Foods will finally be able to compete with Beyond Meat products in grocery stores across the country, although the company doesn’t expect to have its Impossible Burgers on shelves until sometime in the fall as it works. to increase production to meet the new demand.