How our commitment to consumers and our planet led us to use GM soy

By Pat Brown, CEO & Founder of Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods
May 16, 2019 · 7 min read

Starting later this month, some of the soy protein used in the Impossible Burger will come from genetically modified soybeans sourced from farms in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. Here’s why:

Impossible Foods was founded in 2011 with a singular goal:

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.

  • Functionality: Every ingredient needs to meet the requirements for a delicious product that satisfies people who love and eat meat, dairy and fish. If it’s not delicious enough to compete with the same product from animals, it won’t advance our mission.
  • Environmental impact: Choosing Impossible Burger over meat from a cow results in vastly lower emissions, water use, crop use and land footprint of diets. For every ingredient, we search diligently for sources and suppliers that minimize harmful impact on environment and farm workers.
  • Scalability: Every ingredient must be reliably available at sufficient scale to enable us to meet consumer demand.
  • Cost: The ingredient cost must enable the final product, at scale, to be priced at or below the price of the animal product it replaces. This is the only way to make our products truly accessible.

We started 2019 with a bang.

We launched Impossible Burger 2.0 — the first plant-based product to rival beef for flavor, texture, nutrition and versatility. The launch of our new recipe led to a massive increase in demand in every category where the product is sold: independent restaurants, large restaurant chains, theme parks, museums, stadiums, college campuses and corporate offices. It’s a top-selling item in many restaurants, and sales have tripled in Asia in the past two months alone.

Soy is sustainable, scalable and safe.

94% of the soy grown in the US is genetically engineered to resist herbicide toxicity. This helps control weeds without more toxic weed control agents or over-reliance on tillage, which drives soil carbon loss. And because a cow needs to eat about 30 pounds of corn and soy for every pound of beef they produce, far less herbicide is needed to make an Impossible Burger than a burger from a cow.

“The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe. Consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.”

A half-decade later, there’s even greater scientific consensus that GMOs are safe for consumers and the environment — a view now endorsed by the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization.

Impossible Foods has always embraced the responsible, constructive use of genetic engineering.

We’ve been transparent from the start about our use of genetically engineered yeast to produce heme. We highlight our use of genetic engineering in our online FAQ, video, news releases, special reports, blog, extensive test data voluntarily filed with the US Food and Drug Administration — with consumers and with media, from the San Francisco Chronicle to Reuters, Guardian, BBC and many more.

What IF?

Stories about Impossible Foods, and what drives and…

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