Impossible Burger Problems Go Beyond GMO, Here Is Why

The vegan revolution is underway in the US, and two companies are in the driving seat. Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are cashing in on the vegan wave, which is spreading fast. Notably, Beyond Meat went public on May 2, 2019, and the stock is already 250% higher than the offering price. However, things are not as rosy for Impossible Foods whose lead product, Impossible Burger, has come under scrutiny for containing higher than recommended amounts of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is carcinogenic

Just two days after a landmark ruling against Monsanto, Moms Across America announced that Impossible Burger had huge amounts of glyphosate. In the Monsanto ruling, the jurors found out that Roundup, a herbicide which is the company’s lead product, caused cancer. Interestingly, glyphosate is the primary element used to produce Roundup.

According to Moms Across America, Impossible Burger contains close to 11.3 parts per billion of glyphosate and its metabolite. At these levels, Impossible Burger has 11 times more glyphosate than the burgers produced by Beyond Meat. On testing, the Beyond Meat burgers were found to have only 1 ppb of glyphosate.

Why should consumers care?

Almost all consumers who claim to be vegans do so because they believe non-vegan foods are cancer causing. Therefore, it is disappointing to hear that an important element of the revolutionary non-cancerous foods causes cancer. According to a press release by the State of California, glyphosate is a known carcinogen. The state listed the substance under Proposition 65 and which was effected on July 7, 2017.

Further, scientific research shows that glyphosate begins being harmful to human health at 0.1 ppb. That implies that levels recorded in Impossible Burger are beyond dangerous. Sadly, the US EPA directs that any food product with glyphosate levels under 175 ppb is safe for human consumption.

Impossible Foods replies to Moms Across America (MAA)

Impossible Foods believes the recent claim around glyphosate is just another round of a trashing campaign by MAA. Specifically, Impossible Foods termed MAA as fundamentalist in its response. In part, the response read, MAA is an anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, anti-science, fundamentalist group… ripping off customers using scare tactics and distorted “facts” about science and medicine.”

On glyphosate, the company said that the substance is detectable in both organic and non-organic foods. “In fact, the minuscule levels of these chemicals that were detected in both the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger were less than 1/1000 the limit set by EPA for glyphosate residue in dried pea (8,000 ppb) and soybeans (20,000 ppb), respectively,” the company wrote.

Problems with GMO

Impossible Foods proudly claims its products are GMO-based. Perhaps this is one subject that keeps MAA fighting the company. The company also faced backlash over another ingredient in the Impossible Burger. Various reports in 2017 indicated that soy leghemoglobin is not safe for human consumption. In its defense, Impossible Foods said that substance is “substantially familiar” to proteins which humans consume daily, hence making it safe.

Interestingly, the US FDA shared its worries with the company, but it did not reveal the information to the public. In part, the FDA statement said, “F.D.A. believes the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of soy leghemoglobin for consumption.”