The makers of the controversial veggie burger have just announced that in the future, due to "high demand" for the plant-based product, it will be made with GM soy.
Across the United States, major food brands are trying to ditch GMO ingredients, not necessarily for the right reasons, but because nearly half of consumers say they avoid them in their food, primarily for health reasons.
But the CEO of Impossible Foods, supplier to Impossible Burger, is breaking that trend.
The formula change was made to ensure the smooth implementation of the Impossible Burger in Burger King restaurants. The soy formulation is apparently better able to withstand Burger King's flame cooking. As a result, in early 2019, Impossible Foods dumped the textured wheat protein it had been using and replaced it with soy protein concentrate.
Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, publicly defended the measure. But a closer look reveals that Brown's claims about the wholesomeness and sustainability of "Impossible Burger 2.0" just don't add up.
Here are six reasons why the CEO of Impossible Burger is wrong when he claims that GMO soy is "the safest and most environmentally responsible option" for increasing production of the fake meat product, a product that already uses a genetically modified yeast. called heme, as its key ingredient
1. Doubtful health claims
When the switch to soy was made. Sue Klapholz, vice president of nutrition and health for Impossible Foods, said that “soy is not only safe; it is accessible, nutritious ”.
That's not true at all.
The results of studies showing healthy properties of fermented soy products like tofu or miso are sometimes used to support the health of other, more highly processed types of soy.
But all soy is not created equal.
In the messy world of soy studies, where "soy" can be defined as almost anything containing soy, there are so many studies that show no or only marginal benefits and, in some cases, potential for harm. E. sol. interference with thyroid medication - from diets rich in soy
Soy protein isolates and concentrates are made from defatted soy flakes that have been washed with alcohol or water to remove sugars and dietary fiber. The flakes are processed into powders or "flours".
Alcohol is the most common process, as it produces products with a neutral taste. But the beneficial isoflavones in soy are removed by this method. Soy protein concentrate has the lowest level of healthy isoflavones, including daidzein, genistein, and glycitein, of any form of processed soy.
There are other differences between the various types of soybeans. A 2014 study comparing GMOs and organic soybeans found small but statistically significant differences in nutritional quality: organic soybeans had slightly higher protein levels and lower levels of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids did not show significant differences. Both fats are essential in human diets, but American consumers tend to consume a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than healthy.
2. Increased use of pesticides
Brown says "careful analysis" has "conclusively shown" that GM soy is "better for the environment than alternatives."
Absolutely false. GMO soy, whether fed to cows or people, is harmful to the environment.
A 2013 Food & Water Watch study, based on data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency, found that growing GM crops quickly resulted in the growth of herbicide resistant “super weeds”, prompting farmers to increase their use of herbicides.
That report echoed the findings of another study produced by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook in 2012. In 2016, research from the University of Virginia confirmed that glyphosate-resistant weeds have led to an increase. 28 percent herbicide use in GM versus non-GM soy.
This has also been seen in other countries, including Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
There is also evidence that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, accumulates in GM soybeans. The same study found that GM soybeans are nutritionally inferior to organic, and that GM soybeans contained high residues of glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA, while conventional and organic soybeans were free of these agrochemicals.
That may help explain why a recent lab analysis by Moms Across America found glyphosate residues in the new Impossible Burger formula. Levels of glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA were low (11 ppb), but as moms point out, evidence from animal feeding studies indicates that only 0.1 ppb of glyphosate can destroy gut bacteria.
Other studies of animals fed GM foods and / or glyphosate show worrying trends, including damage to vital organs such as the liver and kidneys, damage to intestinal tissues and intestinal flora, immune system disorders, reproductive abnormalities, and even tumors.
Agrochemical companies must continually claim that glyphosate is safe. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen," and its manufacturer, Monsanto (Bayer), was recently ordered to pay billions in compensation to victims who developed lymphoma. not Hodgkin as a result of herbicide use. More cases are pending.
3. No benefits for farmers
According to Brown, the company decided to source “US-grown, ground, and processed GM soybeans,” which is “from farms in Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois” because there simply isn't enough non-GMO soybeans to meet demand.
There is no question that GM soy is more abundant than non-GM soy in the United States. In fact, the United States grows more soybeans than any other country except Brazil. According to the USDA, more than 90 percent of soybeans harvested on US farms is genetically modified to resist herbicides, especially Roundup.
That should translate into more crops to sell, but an in-depth investigation by the New York Times found that, in addition to increasing pesticide use, genetic modification in the US and Canada has not brought the expected increases in yields. crops.
This echoes the findings of a 2016 report by the National Academy of Sciences that found there was "little evidence" that the introduction of genetically modified crops into the US had led to gains beyond those seen in crops. conventional.
Right now, American farmers are suffering from a glut of soybeans, thanks to ongoing trade disputes with China, which have resulted in low prices and farm bankruptcies.
4. Kill biodiversity
The adoption of crops resistant to transgenic herbicides such as soybeans has favored the use of herbicides over proven weed management methods, such as crop rotation.
In addition to creating super weeds, glyphosate-based herbicides damage microbial life in the soil, making crops more susceptible to disease. They are toxic to a variety of aquatic organisms and also kill beneficial "weeds" such as milkweed, an important food source for the Monarch butterfly.
As weeds become resistant, older, stronger pesticides such as 2,4-D or dicamba are used. In 2017-18, “dicamba drift” was responsible for the damage to approximately 5 million acres of non-GM soybeans in 24 states, in addition to numerous specialty crops and wild plants.
Globally, soy plantations have been responsible for the wholesale clearing of forests and savannas in places like Brazil, with the added effect of contributing to climate change. In the US, land converted to soybean production has generally been pre-existing agricultural land and is therefore not linked to deforestation. But growing demand for soy is destroying America's prairies. Analysis of the satellite data showed that between 2006 and 2011, farmers in Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska had converted 1.3 million acres of grassland into soybean and corn production.
Research from the USDA Environmental Working Group and Economic Research Service supports this finding.
These monocultures are bad news for wildlife, because they destroy habitats for a wide range of wild creatures, from ground-nesting birds to pollinators like bees and butterflies.
But monocultures also lead to mono diets. Agricultural diversity ensures a healthier environment and greater food security on a global scale. But the excessive focus on cash crops like soybeans means that today only a few crops dominate diets around the world. This new global diet has more calories and less nutrition, and is responsible for the global increase in non-communicable diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
5. There is no “scientific consensus” on safety
Brown proclaims that there is "a scientific consensus that GMOs are safe for consumers and the environment, a view now supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization."
But Brown's statement is objectively false.
A closer look at these claims shows that the AMA Public Health and Science Council's statement opposing GMO labeling did not claim that GMOs are safe. It recognized "a small potential for adverse events ... mainly due to horizontal gene transfer, allergenicity and toxicity." WADA recommended mandatory safety assessments prior to the release of GM foods, a system that, as WADA noted, does not exist in the US.
The National Academy of Sciences has not issued any general claims about the safety of GMOs. He issued a report in which he analyzed a range of plant breeding techniques and concluded that GM had a higher risk of introducing inadvertent changes in food than any other method of crop improvement other than mutation, a method in which the genomes of Plants are bombarded with radiation or chemicals to induce mutations.
The WHO has stated: "No effects on human health have been demonstrated as a result of the consumption of genetically modified foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved."
But take a look at the text that preceded that sentence: “Different genetically modified organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual genetically modified foods and their safety must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements about the safety of all GM foods. " WHO also recommends that “appropriate post-market monitoring” be carried out to ensure the safety of genetically modified foods.
However, such monitoring does not take place anywhere in the world.
In fact, GM foods were not tested in humans before being released into the food chain. Their effects on human health are not being studied by any government agency, nor by the companies that produce them.
That is why nearly 300 independent scientists from around the world issued a public warning that there was no scientific consensus on the safety of eating genetically modified foods, and that the risks, as demonstrated in independent research, gave “serious reasons for concern".
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