This is what fake meat is made out of

by The Listener / 22 July, 2018

Help us find and write the stories Kiwis need to read

RelatedArticlesModule - Fake meat made out of

Joanna Blythman.

Meatless meat is yet to get a clean bill of health. British food writer Joanna Blythman, author of Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets, studied the ingredients of an Impossible Burger patty last November and found it contained:

• Textured wheat protein, potato protein and soya protein isolates, which were extracted from their eponymous food “using high-tech chemical and physical methods that are veiled in commercial secrecy”.

• Coconut oil, which had “a trendy ‘superfood’ ring to it … isn’t raw” and that its inherent nutritional value had been “heavily compromised by harsh industrial refining processes”.

• Industrial hydrocolloid gums konjac and xanthan (the latter designed to thicken the drilling mud in the oil industry), included to absorb the product’s high water content and glue together ingredients that wouldn’t naturally bond.

• Man-made flavourings, labelled “natural”, which are used to replace flavours “destroyed by the rigours of the manufacturing process, and also to mask unpleasant flavours”.

• In contrast to the spectrum of vitamins in real beef, this product is fortified with synthetic versions that are “added to breakfast cereals to make them seem healthier than they really are”.

Blythman sums up: “So that’s the Impossible Burger: water, protein powders, glues, factory flavourings, flavour enhancers, synthetic vitamins – all signifiers of low-grade, ultra-processed food – and a novel ingredient that has no proven track record of safety.”

That last comment is a reference to the protein in the patty: heme, or soy leghemoglobin (SLH), a vat-grown, genetically engineered form of the heme iron found in the root nodules of soybean plants. It is what makes fake meat meaty, lending it a “bloody” look and a meat-like taste and colour.

The company that produced the patty, Impossible Foods, sought regulatory blessing from the US Food and Drug Administration, which was due to report the results of its investigations at the end of April, but announced a 90-day delay. Its report is due to be released at the end of this month.

*See Blythman’s full report on the Impossible Burger here:

This article was first published in the July 21, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

The psychics of Sensing Murder are stuck in the realm of the hopelessly vague
95181 2018-08-20 11:39:38Z Television

The psychics of Sensing Murder are stuck in the re…

by Diana Wichtel

You've got to give it to Sensing Murder, never has a show spun out so little content into hours of complete crap.

Read more
Updated cafe-bar Imperial Lane is a refreshing new hangout spot in the CBD
95178 2018-08-20 11:36:54Z Auckland Eats

Updated cafe-bar Imperial Lane is a refreshing new…

by Alex Blackwood

The owner of The Jefferson has taken over cafe-bar Imperial Lane and refreshed it with a new look and a new menu.

Read more
Green leadership stands firm on Waka Jumping Bill at AGM
95160 2018-08-20 06:49:43Z Politics

Green leadership stands firm on Waka Jumping Bill …

by Gia Garrick

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and won't be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government.

Read more
Former Coro Street writer delivers again with Love, Lies and Records
95137 2018-08-20 00:00:00Z Television

Former Coro Street writer delivers again with Love…

by Catherine Woulfe

In Kay Mellor’s new drama, sweetness and light meet bitterness and pedantry.

Read more
A novel attempting a contemporary Lolita is bold but unconvincing
95031 2018-08-20 00:00:00Z Books

A novel attempting a contemporary Lolita is bold b…

by Anna Rogers

A 27-year-old man is obsessed with a nine-year-old girl … it's Lolita, of course, but Sofka Zinovieff's main character is no Humbert Humbert.

Read more
The woman who was her own twin: Exploring the most bizarre quirks of heredity
95139 2018-08-20 00:00:00Z Books

The woman who was her own twin: Exploring the most…

by Jenny Nicholls

A new book explores some of the most bizarre quirks of heredity.

Read more
Was former EPA chief scientist Jacqueline Rowarth muzzled?
95121 2018-08-19 00:00:00Z Profiles

Was former EPA chief scientist Jacqueline Rowarth …

by Peter Griffin

After months of controversy, Jacqueline Rowarth’s tenure at the Environmental Protection Authority came to a sudden end.

Read more
Why TV journalist Ian Sinclair is stepping back from his media career
94926 2018-08-19 00:00:00Z Music

Why TV journalist Ian Sinclair is stepping back fr…

by Ian Sinclair

TVNZ journo Ian Sinclair is going from the screen to the stage.

Read more