A federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to allow Impossible Foods to use “ heme, ” the additive the company says makes its products.tastes like meat. ”
Had Impossible Foods lost this legal battle, it could have dealt a heavy blow to the company. Genetically engineered heme is what sets its products apart from other competitors such as Beyond Meat who don’t use the ingredient.
The FDA was using a weaker legal standard than it should be to approve the use of heme, the nonprofit food safety center said in a lawsuit it filed last year. It said the FDA had made its decision based on food additive safety standards rather than color additive standards, which state that there must be “conclusive evidence” that the color additive will not cause harm. Heme is a red ingredient that makes Impossible Foods products seem to ‘bleed’.
The appeal court ruling said the FDA had “substantial evidence” to consider heme in Impossible Foods to be safe, Bloomberg reported today. It also enabled the FDA to rely on research commissioned by Impossible Foods in its decision-making.
Impossible Foods shared its own data with a food safety panel of experts from various universities for review and then conducted it diet studies in rats to answer questions from the FDA. “We have no questions at this time about Impossible Foods’ conclusion that preparing soy leghemoglobin is [generally recognized as safe] under intended conditions of use to optimize flavor in analogous ground beef products intended for cooking, ”the FDA concluded in 2018.
The Center for Food Safety, on the other hand, said more analysis is needed. “The FDA should have required additional independent testing to ensure that this new compound does not cause allergic reactions or other health problems in humans,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director of the Center for Food Safety. statement last year.