Impossible Foods should use “heme,” a colour additive that the brand claims helps the plant-based burgers look like beef, according to a federal appeals court.
According to Bloomberg, a federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow soy leghemoglobin as a colour additive in Impossible Foods plant-based burgers.
Impossible Foods has branded genetically modified soy protein as containing heme, an iron-containing molecule that makes its plant-based burgers “taste like meat,” by satisfying iron cravings.
The red coloring of heme also makes the Impossible Burger appear to “bleed” like meat.
The nonprofit Center for Food Safety had petitioned the appeals court to review the FDA decision, after arguing in lawsuit last year that the FDA used a weaker standard than it should have to approve heme’s use since its decision was based on safety standards for food additives instead of color additives.
On Monday, the three Circuit Judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Impossible Foods’ motion for review. Two of them stated that the FDA enforced the right criteria and that the FDA had “substantial evidence,” of the additive’s safety, while the third stated that the nonprofit lacks standing to appeal the FDA’s decision.
“We are disappointed by the court’s ruling today, which will allow Impossible Burger and other meatless burgers to be made with novel genetically engineered chemical without conducting any long-term health studies,” Center for Food Safety’s Senior Attorney Sylvia Wu said in a statement. “FDA is supposed to protect consumers from unsafe novel chemicals in our food supply, instead now consumers bear the burden of avoiding those GMO plant-based burgers.”