“We sought the safest and most environmentally responsible option that would allow us to scale our production and provide the Impossible Burger to consumers at a reasonable cost. And the unambiguous winner was American-grown, milled and processed GM soy that meets the highest global standards for health, safety and sustainability.
“This choice allows us to continue making a product that rivals beef for flavor, texture, nutrition and versatility. And it keeps Impossible Foods on target to achieve our mission: to end the use of animals in food production by 2035, halting and reversing its catastrophic impact on climate, land, water and the ongoing meltdown in biodiversity” (emphasis in the original). According to Brown, we face a wildlife holocaust caused by animal agriculture.
In a recent TED talk, Brown reveals the typical viewpoint of today’s scientists—life “evolved” by chance so there are mistakes, but we clever wizards can fix them. Animals are an unsustainable technology for transforming plants into meat, he asserts. It sounds “insane” but humans making meat from plants “has to be done,” and “we’re going to do it better.” This doesn’t sound insane, it is insane.
Here’s the list of ingredients in the Impossible Burger: Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.
How is soy protein concentrate made? As far as I can tell, the manufacturing process does not involve a lot of heat, and therein lies the problem.
There’s probably no food that contains more anti-nutrients than soy, and without heat applied in the processing, they will largely remain—actually will be hugely concentrated—in the soy protein concentrate.
The anti-nutritional factors in soybeans include protease inhibitors (inhibit protein digestion, cause swelling of the pancreas), saponins (cause agglomeration of red blood cells) lectins (interfere with digestion), estrogens (cause hormone disruption), goitrogens (depress thyroid function), cyanogens (degrade to cyanide in the digestive tract), phytate (blocks mineral assimilation), oligosaccharides (indigestible for humans, cause diarrhea and flatulence) and antigens (cause allergic reactions). Processing may reduce the levels of some of these compounds, but never all of them. They are there in spades—along with lots of glyphosate residues–in a product Brown calls “healthy” and “safe.” (An analysis by Moms Across America found that the Impossible Burger tests eleven times higher for glyphosate weed killer residue than the Beyond Meat burger, made from non-GMO peas.)
But back to the ingredients. You’ll notice fewer extracts than the Beyond Burger—just yeast extract—to give the product a meaty, umami taste. However, there is another source of meaty taste in the Impossible Burger, soy leghemoglobin, described as follows: “Soy leghemoglobin is short for legume hemoglobin — the hemoglobin found in soy, a leguminous plant. Leghemoglobin is a protein found in plants that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule that is essential for life. Heme is found in every living being — both plants and animals. (Heme in animals is carried by “hemoglobin” and “myoglobin” among other proteins.) . . . We make the Impossible Burger using heme from soy plants — identical to the heme from animals — which is what gives it its uniquely meaty flavor. . . Back in our research days, we used to harvest leghemoglobin directly from the roots of soy plants. But we soon realized that in order to make enough plant-based heme to feed the world — and avoid the destructive environmental impact of animal agriculture — we would need to make it using fermentation. The heme in Impossible Burger is made using a yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin. First, we grow yeast via fermentation. Then, we isolate the soy leghemoglobin (containing heme) from the yeast, and add it to the Impossible Burger, where it combines with other micronutrients to create delicious, meaty flavor.”
Is soy leghemoglobin safe? According to the Institute for Responsible Science, when Impossible Foods originally submitted the product to the FDA, the agency refused to grant it GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status, noting that soy leghemoglobin has never been in the human food supply and lacks adequate safety tested. Furthermore, they found 47 additional uncharacterized, unintended, untested proteins in the brew. In addition, it may contain many potentially dangerous metabolites and compounds.
And there’s another possible problem with soy leghemoglobin: will the body be able to incorporate the heme into the blood, or will it shunt it to storage in the liver, causing problems like hemochromatosis?
Yet Brown insists that his product is perfectly safe and provides an adequate substitute for meat. It’s a pity he did not interview some of the men in the Illinois prisons before he started his fundraising efforts–he’s raised $400 million in funding to date, from dotcom millionaires like Bill Gates. Between 2003 and 2019, these inmates received a “planet-saving” diet virtually devoid of meat, but loaded with imitation foods containing soy protein isolate and soy protein concentrate, with naked soy flour added to the baked goods. (Only the men got the diet; the women stopped menstruating after just a few months, so the Department of Corrections eliminated the soy and gave them meat again.) Some of the health problems suffered by the men: horrible digestive problems, including pain after eating soy, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and gas (remember, these are men living in close quarters); debilitating thyroid problems; heart arrythmias; growth of breasts (called bitch tits); and erectile dysfunction (called chemical castration). (See my article “State of Illinois Still Poisoning Male Prisoners with Soy Diet” on this for more information.)
True, the soy they got did not “bleed” like the Impossible Burger, but the men did a lot of bleeding, mostly in the form of bloody diarrhea.
Burger King has debuted the Impossible Burger in a few locations and promises to have them soon in every store. But as one of our prison friends puts it, “Going to a fast food joint for a veggie burger is like going to your favorite prostitute for a hug.”
The Impossible Burger won’t prevent a wildlife holocaust (think of all the animals killed and biodiversity lost with the monocropping of soy) but could lead to a human holocaust. Fortunately, it won’t take long for folks to figure out that the Impossible Burger is just a creepy revival of the push to sell soy, the most toxic product in agriculture.
The Weston A. Price Foundation is the number one voice warning the public about the dangers of soy