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(WHAT IF)

Setting the record straight: Bon Appetit’s mischaracterization

By Rachel Konrad, Chief Communications Officer at Impossible Foods

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A cover story in the latest print issue of Bon Appetit grossly mischaracterized a statement from our sustainability lead. We have requested an immediate correction and have escalated our request to the highest levels of the magazine.

To set the record straight: In a 35-minute conversation, a freelance reporter writing for Bon Appetit interviewed Impossible Foods’ sustainability lead. The conversation was wide ranging and discussed strategies to make the global food system sustainable and scalable. Impossible Foods’ head of sustainability emphasized the need to provide alternatives to dominant forms of beef production, and the biophysical constraints associated with scaling livestock overall at current consumption levels.

But in this printed edition of the article, reporter Sophia Hampton goes into detail about an indigenous land management principle called “ehakihesakamink.” She then quotes Impossible Foods’ sustainability lead on a completely separate and much broader topic of whether meat producers can meaningfully sequester soil carbon under certain management regimes. The associated quote from the Impossible Foods’ spokesperson — “Isn’t it kind of irrelevant? Look at the scale of beef demand in the United States.” — is in reference to carbon management in livestock systems, not to indigenous land management.

Our spokesperson did not discuss ehakihesakamink (nor did the reporter mention it in the interview). As a result of the nebulous “it” placed after multiple paragraphs on the role indigenous ethics, Bon Appetit and others on social media are misrepresenting our spokesperson’s quotation, insinuating that we believe indigenous land management is “irrelevant.” This is incorrect.

Impossible Foods demanded a correction on June 14 from Bon Appetit. We have emailed, called or texted numerous Bon Appetit employees, including two senior editors and the fact checker, yet we have not heard back. We have tried unsuccessfully to reach the freelance reporter who wrote the article. We have asked for a correction in the next print edition and an immediate correction in online editions.

We appreciate that our demand for a simple correction may not be the biggest worry right now at Bon Appetit — but we at Impossible Foods are taking the mischaracterization with the utmost seriousness and have escalated our concerns to the highest levels of the magazine.