We have been contacted by a few people who have experienced gastrointestinal problems after eating the Impossible Burger (IB). There is currently no simple mechanism for people to report these problems to the FDA. If adverse health reactions are not tracked, we cannot know the truth about the short and long term impacts of IB on real world consumer health.
In 2017, when the untested Impossible Burger first came on the market in restaurants across the U.S., the FDA was not willing to grant it GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status. FDA’s reasoning was that Impossible Foods (IF) had not provided enough data to prove their genetically engineered burger is “safe.” Let’s be clear— FDA did NOT say IB was unsafe, just that safety had not been proven.
To accommodate the FDA, Impossible Foods conducted two feeding studies on rats. One was a 14 day study, the other 28 days. The Industry minimum for safety studies is generally 90 days, which is not even long enough to detect any long-term toxic effects. These short-term studies could have missed early signs of allergenicity, inflammation or long term chronic toxicity to the kidneys, liver or other organs. In 2018 the FDA told IF that the agency had no further questions, but did not grant GRAS status.
One of the “selling points” of the IB is that it “bleeds” like meat and provides meat eaters with a sensory experience that other meat substitutes lack. This “bleeding” comes from “heme.” Heme contains iron and is the oxygen carrying molecule in our blood, in animals and in plants. Impossible Foods takes a form of heme from the soy nodule called Leghemoglobin. They then insert the genetic sequence for leghemoglobin into yeast and ferment it by feeding it sugar and minerals. The result is a yeast sludge with 46 novel proteins in a red liquid that “bleeds.”
Proteins are the major triggers of allergenicity and inflammation. At this point, IB is being sold in over 7,000 restaurants, and is not likely to be eaten on a daily basis, but the company has announced it will be in stores in 2019. In addition, Impossible Foods will soon be releasing their next products, a fake meat “sausage” for pizza and other use, and meatless “steak.” The company’s stated long term goal is to “disrupt” the meat industry and convert meat eaters to their products. What will happen when these novel proteins are available in grocery stores and are regularly consumed by children as their primary source of protein?
Impossible Foods states that their genetically engineered leghemoglobin is “identical” to natural soy heme, yet they have patented it because it is unique and different. Peer reviewed studies now indicate that genetic engineering techniques have off target effects that may result in major changes to the genome with the genetic engineering of a single trait. Studies also show that the RNA from the genetically engineered foods may end up in our mitochondria. The techniques are too new and haven’t been studied thoroughly enough to understand the long term effects of the genetic transfer and genome changes on our bodies and our health, and the multigenerational impact.
For all of these reasons and because several people who have experienced adverse reactions have reached out to us of their own accord, we are gathering more data on how Impossible Food products are impacting consumers.
Please fill out the form below and answer all the questions. We want to provide a platform for people to report reactions so that others can find this information and make informed decisions about whether to eat it. The survey is not designed to assess consumer satisfaction with taste or the overall products in general, rather to accumulate unique data on adverse health reactions not being tracked elsewhere. If you do not want your testimonial published, be sure to click that box. Your comments will be sent to FDA and the marketing department at Impossible Foods.
Thanks for taking the time to help us crowdsource information for other people who eat IF products, some of whom may not understand what they are eating due to a very savvy PR campaign.