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Could Impossible Burger’s Key GMO Ingredient Cause Weight Gain, Kidney Disease in Humans?

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by GMWatch, Childrens Health Defense:

A rat-feeding study commissioned by Impossible Foods suggested the Impossible Burger’s key ingredient — genetically engineered soy leghemoglobin — caused the rats to develop unexplained changes in weight gain, changes in the blood that can indicate the onset of inflammation or kidney disease, and possible signs of anemia.

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The Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger, the key ingredient of which is a protein called soy leghemoglobin (SLH for short), derived from genetically modified (GM) yeast. It’s already being sold in restaurants and supermarkets in the U.S.

In 2019 the manufacturing company, Impossible Foods, applied for permission to market the burger in the EU and the U.K.

However, the results of a rat feeding study commissioned by Impossible Foods and carried out with SLH suggest that the burger may not be safe to eat.

SLH is the substance that gives the burger its meaty taste and makes it appear to bleed like meat when cut. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially refused to sign off on the safety of SLH when first approached by the company.

The rat-feeding study results suggest that the agency’s concerns were justified. Rats fed the GM yeast-derived SLH developed unexplained changes in weight gain, changes in the blood that can indicate the onset of inflammation or kidney disease, and possible signs of anemia.

2015: FDA says SLH safety not proven

The company maintains that SLH is safe to eat. It wanted the FDA to agree with its self-declared conclusion that SLH is “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe), providing reassurance for consumers.

But in 2015, in response to Impossible Foods’ first application, the FDA refused to agree that the substance was safe. It responded with tough questions for the company, as revealed in documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

The FDA was concerned that SLH has never been consumed by humans and may be an allergen.

The agency pointed out that the safety information submitted by Impossible Foods was not specific enough:

“Although proteins are a part of the human food supply, not all proteins are safe. Information addressing the safe use of modified soy protein does not adequately address safe use of soybean leghemoglobin protein from the roots of the soybean plant in food.”

The FDA concluded:

“FDA believes that the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of SLH for consumption, nor do they point to a general recognition of safety.”

2017: Impossible Foods tries again

In 2017 Impossible Foods tried again with a new application for GRAS status. It submitted data from a study that the company had commissioned in which rats were fed SLH.

Although Impossible Foods had in its 2015 submission told the FDA it intended to conduct a 90-day feeding study (the standard length for subchronic toxicity in rats), the company said that following “feedback” from the agency, it had decided on a shorter study of 28 days.

Read More @ ChildrensHealthDefense.org



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