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Application for GMO ‘Imitation Blood’ Raises Concerns

19/01/2020


Foods Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has received an application seeking approval for the GE Imitation blood ingredient used in the Impossible Burger to enter the food chain.[1]

The application does not have the proper safety profile for approval of the bacterial ingredient, called leghemoglobin (SLH), derived from genetically engineered soy.

The “imitation Blood” ingredient used in the Impossible Burgers to make them "sizzle like blood" has been trialled in select meals on Air New Zealand flights from the USA. This circumnavigates NZ regulations, because the ingredient cannot be sold in this country.

Many consumers may be unaware about the novel GM imitation blood and soy ingredients, which are also heavily sprayed with chemical pesticide, as there is no GMO label.

“The promotional hype around the product will probably mislead people into thinking it is a safe, sustainable, or even healthy meat alternative,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ.

Careful consumers who choose what they eat for ethical and health reasons are being hoodwinked into believing they are sourcing sustainable safe food. This GE fake blood ingredient has never been in the food supply before, and the Impossible Foods website does not declare it as GE [2].

There are some very inaccurate allegations made on the comparison and identical nature of the product. Soy Leghemoglobin and haemoglobin protein are not the same thing. Although both can function to bind oxygen, they have different structures. Soy leghemoglobin protein structure is changed further when engineered by the yeast bacteria. When Impossible Foods separated the modified soy leghemoglobin from the yeast after the fermentation process, 73% of what was extracted was soy leghemoglobin, but 46 other proteins, never included in the human diet before, were discovered in the remaining 27%.

Reports from consumers in the USA also raise safety concerns because of some experiences of unpleasant digestive reactions like nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, and large releases of intestinal gas. [3]

This has prompted a survey [4] conducted in the USA to see if the reports of allergic and digestive upset after eating a GE Impossible Burger is a common result.

GE Free NZ has made an Official Information Act request for the safety studies on this ingredient, because it could be dangerous for consumers.

“It is incredible that a sophisticated elaborate advertising campaign is luring consumers into eating fake potentially dangerous Silicon Valley laboratory designed food," said Jon Carapiet.

"It is disappointing that it is being used to promote vegan eating when there are so many great vegan and vegetarian products made from organic, real plant based foods that are healthier and more genuinely sustainable.”

The application A1186 for the GE Imitation blood ingredient was lodged just before Christmas and submission are due on 14 February.

References:
[1] https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/applications/Pages/A1186.aspx
[2] https://faq.impossiblefoods.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018937494-What-are-the-ingredients-
[3] https://www.reddit.com/r/vegetarian/comments/8jfdhw/has_anyone_else_gotten_stomach_pain_after_eating/
[4] https://gmofreeusa.org/take-action/impossible-burger-health-survey/

ENDS:

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