Months after Hopdoddy unveiled a "bleeding" vegetarian cheeseburger they claim tastes like the real thing, environmental and consumer advocacy groups are now calling on the company to pull the burger from the market, according to an article from the Los Angeles Times that was published Tuesday.
The patty came from a partnership between Hopdoddy and Silicon Valley-based Impossible Foods, which touts it as the world’s only burger that looks, handles, smells, cooks and tastes like ground beef from cattle. However, it is made entirely from plants -- including coconut oil, wheat and potatoes -- and they said it has a much smaller environmental footprint than obtaining meat from animals.
However, activists said the ingredient that is supposed to give the patty its "beef-like quality" has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as fit to consume. The LA Times cites documents obtained by the FDA through the Freedom of Information Act. Those documents do not state the ingredient is unsafe.
The ingredient in question is soy leghemoglobin, a protein found in soy roots that’s the basis for the burger’s meaty texture and flavor. Impossible Foods does not need FDA approval to sell its burger, but LA Times said it sought the agency's safety designation of "generally recognized as safe." When the agency asked for more data to determine factors such as whether or not its soy leghemoglobin was an allergen, the company rescinded its request for review.
Impossible Foods said the ingredient is not an allergen and that their burger has been lab-tested and is safe to eat.
Hopdoddy's Vice President of food and beverage, Mark Adair, released a statement to KVUE Wednesday.
“We are proud to serve the highest quality proteins and ingredients at Hopdoddy, including the Impossible Burger,” Adair said. “Our guests’ health and safety is top priority. We researched the hell out of the Impossible Meat before adding it to our menu, and we have absolutely no reason to believe it is unsafe.”