As Beyond Meat’s new “Impossible Burger” is bringing increased attention to the alt-protein food category, it’s important to know what’s actually in it. The Impossible Burger was first written about in 2017 when Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents uncovered that the FDA disagreed with the company’s safety assessments of the burger’s main ingredient — soy leghemoglobin. Beyond Meat continued to sell soy leghemoglobin to the public without informing consumers about the FDA’s concerns. Those concerns center around the amount of glyphosate it contains.
Moms across America had the Impossible Burger tested at Health Research Institute Laboratories and the levels of glyphosate were 11x that of the Beyond Meat burger and the total result (glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA) came in at 11.3 parts per billion (ppb). Consumers care about glyphosate for the simple reason glyphosate is known to the State of California to cause cancer. Moreover, the World Health Organization says it is “probably carcinogenic to humans” which means that it “probably causes cancer to humans.” Glyphosate (AKA Round-Up) is also the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Approximately 250 million pounds of this weed killer are sprayed each year in the U.S. Beyond Meat Burgers are sold in grocery stores and Impossible Burgers are sold to restaurants like Burger King.
Recent court cases, including the $2 billion judgment to a couple whose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by Roundup, have provided more evidence of how harmful this chemical is. This means the Impossible Burger contains a genetically-modified protein that has never been in the human diet until a few years ago, but it has also tested positive for glyphosate. Company founder Pat Brown recently wrote the Impossible Burger will now be using GMO soy in its burgers. Genetically-modified soy is sprayed with Roundup and is one of Monsanto’s most important products.
Is eating the Impossible Burger a risk worth taking? As the Institute for Responsible Technology has pointed out, GMOs carry many health risks. But maybe Food blogger Steven Molino (who now Tweets under @steven_molino) can answer this for us. On Twitter, he said that 20 minutes after eating his first Impossible Burger at Bareburger, he “went into anaphylactic shock & taken to ER. Never happened to me before…” His Tweet about going into “anaphylactic shock” has since been deleted.
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