The US manufacturer of the ‘Impossible Burger’ has revealed that they have stopped using GMO soy as their main ingredient in products exported to New Zealand and Australia.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) responses from the importer and manufacturer have been released under the Official Information Act. After GE Free New Zealand called on them to investigate the labelling of Impossible Foods GE burger, being sold through Countdown supermarkets and Hell’s Pizza. MPI found that the Impossible Burger has substituted its main ingredient of GM soy (21%) for non-GM soy protein for the New Zealand market. The product still contains genetically modified soy Heme.
MPI has sighted details of the certified system of Non-GMO Identity Preservation Program now being used to source GE-free soy protein for the Impossible Burger in New Zealand. However the details are witheld in the report released under the OIA.
The documents show that as well as GE soy heme, GMO soy protein still remains the main ingredient used in Impossible Foods products in the US and Canada. The United States Department of Agriculture Identity Preservation website confirms that more than 90% of soybean production is biotechnology engineered soybean and unless a consumer did not specifically purchase non-GE soybeans, then it should be presumed that it will be a genetically engineered soybean.
Since the launch of the Impossible Burger in the US the manufacturer has tenaciously promoted its use of GMO soy as the main ingredient, claiming it to be sustainable. However GMO/GE soy has been widely condemned for the extensive use of synthetic pesticide residues, such as glyphosate.
Ready Roundup GE soy is found to have high residue levels of glyphosate that results in a lower nutritional composition of soybeans compared to conventionally and organically grown soy. Eighty percent of GE soy implicated in Amazon-deforestation is used to feed to cattle for meat production.
Internationally GMO soy is deliberately avoided by consumers who are concerned about increased use of toxic chemicals, biodiversity loss and the destruction of rainforest in the Amazon causing severe droughts in order to grow GE soy.
This global consumer awareness supported by organisations like the Non-GMO Project, may be behind the change to using Non-GMO soy that is revealed in the MPI investigation into Impossible Burger.
All other brands of meat-replacement products in New Zealand supermarkets have a GE-Free policy and source Non-GMO ingredients. This includes local manufacturers such as Bean Supreme, Tonzu, Birds Eye, and the supermarket own-label products Pams, Countdown’s own and Macro.
“New Zealand consumers expect food to be GE-free unless clearly labelled to say otherwise,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ.
“Consumers wanting to address environmental destruction and to avoid businesses causing climate change are looking for natural, organic and GE-free foods that are grown ethically and sustainably.”