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Organic Consumers Association

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What Makes the “Impossible Burger” Possible?

Behind the approval of the plant-based burger that will be hitting store shelves soon. Action Alert!

Plant-based meat products seem to be all the rage. They are billed as a healthier, more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional meat, and the fad is catching on. Fast-food giant Burger King has announced the “Impossible Whopper,” a meatless version of their popular sandwich. What you probably haven’t been told is that these plant-based meats are made possible through a new form of genetic engineering that has undergone virtually no safety testing. Once again, the American consumer will be Big Food’s guinea pig—unless we speak up.

The Impossible Burger is able to give the impression of “bleeding” like real meat because it releases a compound called heme. Heme is found naturally in beef and is released during the cooking process. Heme can also be sourced from soy plants, specifically the roots, but it isn’t sustainable: it takes one acre of soy to produce just one kilogram of soy heme. To circumvent this problem, Impossible Foods, the manufacturer of the Impossible Burger, creates heme through synthetic biology (synbio).

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