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Setting the Record Straight: Heme & health

Impossible Foods was the subject of a misleading article this week in Bloomberg, which insinuated that a key ingredient in the Impossible Burger is embroiled in a “controversy.” In fact, among credible experts there is no controversy as to heme’s safety.

Heme(opens in a new tab) is a ubiquitous molecule that is essential for life. There is abundant scientific evidence demonstrating that heme is one of the safest compounds in the human diet and one of the most important. The human body has evolved the ability to absorb heme as the best dietary source of iron, an essential micronutrient. Heme gives your blood its ability to carry oxygen throughout your body. It’s an essential component of every cell in your body, in every animal and plant, and in virtually everything we eat. Heme isn’t dangerous; it’s required for life.

The Bloomberg article stated that heme might have a role in the link between consumption of red meat and colon cancer. But abundant evidence strongly suggests otherwise. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research(opens in a new tab) reviewed all of the available evidence and concluded in 2017 that “no significant associations were observed between haem iron and colorectal, colon or rectal cancer.” Please read this blog post(opens in a new tab) for more details and studies about the extraordinary safety record of heme.

In addition, some later versions of the Bloomberg article carried the misleading headline: “Impossible Foods’ Quest to Save the Planet Fails to Impress FDA.” The FDA’s role is to ensure the safety of the US food supply, and is simply engaging in its normal process of reviewing Impossible Foods’ submission, which contains 1,000 pages of test data that we voluntarily provided. A panel of food safety experts previously reviewed the data and opined that Impossible Foods’ key ingredient is safe. The FDA has published the data online(opens in a new tab) where it is available to the public, and will respond to Impossible Foods submission when they have completed their review.

— Statement from Rachel Konrad, Chief Communications Officer, Impossible Foods

Check out locations serving the Impossible Burger(opens in a new tab) and our FAQs(opens in a new tab) for more info. More questions? Contact us at [email protected](opens in a new tab).

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