Impossible Foods, a bioengineered foods start-up, is aiming to achieve the impossible by creating imitation meat from plant material that looks, feels, tastes, and cooks like the real thing. The founder is Patrick Brown, MD, PhD, a Stanford University professor and biochemist with a history in genetic research. Impossible Foods has $75 million in venture capital, with investors including Bill Gates.
One of their most innovative achievements is creating a veggie burger that bleeds. This is due to heme, a compound that comes from the roots of nitrogen-fixing plants. Heme is also a component of hemoglobin, the red pigment in blood. This compound and others are extracted in the Impossible Foods manufacturing facility, where large vats of fresh plant matter are dumped into blenders that break down the matter into plant proteins.
The aim of Impossible Foods is to create a more sustainable source of food, and to lessen the impact of the animal agriculture industry, which has been criticized for its large carbon footprint. Dr. Brown states that today s system for animal foods production is completely unsustainable and has terrible destructive environmental consequences.
Bioengineered foods and GMOs not only have the potential to lessen these environmental consequences, but also to supply food to save billions of lives from starvation. With the numerous benefits of bioengineered foods and GMOs, it is truly baffling that there is not unanimous support for these technologies.