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Setting the record straight: How this snarky op-ed distorts the truth

Statement by Rachel Konrad, Chief Communications Officer at Impossible Foods


Impossible Foods is a disruptive company with an urgent mission to make meat better. Mainstream and social media play a critical role in highlighting ways to make the global food system sustainable. But they occasionally get it wrong. That’s when we set the record straight — for instance, on a misleading June 7 op-ed by Clint Rainey at GrubStreet.

First and most important, Rainey failed to mention that Impossible Foods complies with all food-safety regulations everywhere it’s sold. The company’s key ingredient — “heme” — is “generally recognized as safe” as was twice concluded unanimously by a panel of food-safety experts. The company has been in compliance with all federal regulations about food safety since 2014, well before it began selling Impossible Burgers in 2016.

Rainey also implies that Impossible Foods is “quiet” about its use of genetic engineering. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As we told the reporter in multiple emails, we highlight our use of genetic engineering in our online FAQ, video, news releases, special reports, extensive test data voluntarily filed with the US Food and Drug Administration and with journalists, including interviews about genetic engineering with publications such as San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, Reuters, and many other blogs and magazines. (In fact, Rainey can do a clip search in his own publication, since GrubStreet wrote about Impossible Foods’ genetic engineering way back in 2015, more than a year before the first Impossible burger was sold.) We also offered to show Rainey our genetic engineering microbiology lab, which we do regularly during open-house tours for customers, media, students and other community members at our R&D facility.

Unlike other companies, we have never hidden or even shied away from the GMO angle. We want to set a new industry standard for transparency, including around the awesome advantages of GMOs. After all, there’s overwhelming scientific consensus about the health and safety of genetically engineered products.

Rainey’s sources are anti-science, anti-GMO fundamentalists, who found a willing vessel in an otherwise credible reporter and news outlet. (For the record, this is not the first time we’ve seen this hackneyed template, including quotes from the same so-called experts. Can someone please inquire about these “expert’” stances on cheese, nearly all of which is produced using a genetically engineered enzyme instead of rennet from a baby cow? Or recombinant human insulin, which keeps tens of millions of diabetics alive thanks to genetically engineered microbes?)

If you’d like a deeper understanding of Impossible Foods and the Impossible Burger, check out our online FAQ. Hungry for details? Read the What IF? blog, which specifically answers all your questions about our genetic engineering, the extraordinary safety record of our key ingredient, and our mission to eliminate animal agriculture. After you digest all that info, we’re sure you’ll want to find the closest place to score a delicious, wholesome Impossible Burger.

More questions? Send them to [email protected]. If you are a member of the media and have additional questions or interview requests, please send an email to [email protected]