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article imageImpossible Foods gets FDA approval, opens door to sell at grocers

By Karen Graham     Jul 31, 2019 in Business
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the key ingredient in the plant-based burger made by Impossible Foods, clearing the way for Impossible to start selling its products in grocery stores.
The FDA said on Wednesday that it has cleared Impossible’s use of soy leghemoglobin — or heme — as a color additive. If the FDA does not receive any objections from anyone adversely affected by the ingredient in 30 days, Impossible can start selling the product directly to consumers, rather than just restaurants, reports CNBC News.
Redwood City, California-based Impossible Foods was founded in 2011. The company aims to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat and dairy without the negative health and environmental impacts associated with livestock products.
Its signature product, the Impossible Burger, was launched in July 2016. The company teamed up with Burger King, creating the Impossible Whopper that is being test-marketed in 59 locations throughout the United States.
The leghemoglobin give the Impossible Burger its meaty  red color.
The leghemoglobin give the Impossible Burger its meaty, red color.
Impossible Burger
The addition of soy leghemoglobin not only gives the plant-based burger its meaty-looking color - the plant-based patty also bleeds and sizzles like real beef when it cooks.
The research team working with Impossible Foods was able to extract the leghemoglobin from soybean root nodules, a hemoprotein found in the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of leguminous plants. The protein has a blood-red color. Leghemoglobin is very similar to animal myoglobin which is found in muscle and hemoglobin in the blood.
The company uses a fermentation process to create the leghemoglobin in quantity. The heme in the Impossible Burger is made using yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin.
First, the yeast is grown via fermentation. Then, the company isolates the soy leghemoglobin (containing heme) from the yeast, and adds it to the Impossible Burger, where it combines with other micronutrients to create its delicious, meaty flavor, says the website.
More about Impossible Foods, FDA approval, soy leghemoglobin, direct to consumers, osi
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