Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | PETA roasts Impossible Burger for rat tests, suggests patties cause cancer

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Impossibly stupid —

Tests with 188 rats started food fight, but PETA lobbed ridiculous health claim.


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The impossible burger

The oft controversial animal-rights group PETA has beef with the ostensibly animal-friendly Impossible Burger.

PETA, short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is fired up over the fact that the vegetarian burger’s maker, Impossible Foods, tested the safety of its faux patty on animals. Impossible Foods has openly noted that it conducted animal experiments—involving a total of 188 rats—to convince the Food and Drug Administration that the burger’s key, blood-like ingredient qualified as a safe food additive. The company was after a controversial FDA designation called “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS. The animals were sacrificed after the testing.

In a blistering blog post, PETA claimed the testing was “voluntary” and that Impossible Foods conducted the test after “disregarding advice from a PETA scientist who said that there’s no need to hurt and kill animals to test its burger.” To further scorch the burger’s name, PETA made the dubious suggestion that the burger could increase risks of cancer in consumers.

Impossible Foods fired back with its own juicy blog post, calling the PETA’s post “malicious, defamatory, erroneous and mendacious.” The burger maker claimed that the rat studies were necessary to convince the FDA that its unique burger ingredient, called leghemoglobin, fell into the GRAS category and could safely be marketed and consumed. Leghemoglobin is an iron-containing protein pulled from soybean roots that’s similar to hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. In the plant-based patty, it helps mimic the red, juiciness of raw beef. But it had never been used in foods before, hence the safety testing.

Impossible Foods argued further—as it always has—that if consumers choose meatless meat options, such as its burger, it could potentially spare the lives of millions of cows.

Last, the chic food start-up revealed that there’s been an ongoing food fight with PETA; the recent blogging was just the latest shots fired. Impossible Burger reported:

[L]ast August, a few PETA activists launched a misguided attack against Impossible Foods. They mobilized trolls in an attempt to intimidate Impossible Foods and its supporters on social media, bombarded our employees with thousands of auto-generated complaint emails, and tried to disrupt and damage our business.

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Testing regulations

The question of whether Impossible Foods was required to conduct the animal tests is a little murky, but the truth largely falls on the sid

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