It is a genetically-engineered yeast that oozes red juices from Impossible Burgers, making it look more like meat instead of plant protein.
Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, said the Food and Drug Administration approved the additive without any of the long-term animal studies that are supposed to be conducted to determine whether a color additive harms human health.
“This includes studies for cancer, reproductive impairment, and other adverse effects called for by FDA’s Redbook, the Bible of food and color additive testing. We find this to be all the more troubling because a number of potential adverse effects were detected in a short-term rat trial: disruption of reproductive cycles and reduced uterine weights in females, and biomarkers of anemia, reduced clotting ability, and kidney problems,” he said.
Because they offer no substantive benefits, and add only aesthetic appeal, Congress and FDA established an extremely high bar for approval, the Center said.
The agency’s “convincing evidence” standard means that a color additive cannot be approved without the strongest possible evidence of safety, a higher bar than for other food additives, the Center added.