With the rise of vegetarian claims, International food brands such as Burger King and KCF started to produce what is known as ” Impossible food ” which mimics the animal-sourced meat in appearance, taste, and even the odor, but how? The answer is Heme.
What is Heme?
Heme is an iron-containing molecule that gives blood and red meat their color. It serves to regulate oxygen supply to cells. Heme gives the Impossible meat the appearance, cooking aroma, and taste of beef.
How do food industries include Heme in their recipes?
Companies use ‘plant blood’ which is an organic molecule found in the protein leghemoglobin, the plant version of hemoglobin.
Heme can be extracted from the roots of nitrogen-fixing plants such as peas and beans. It also creates flavors like the ones we taste in meat when it’s exposed to sugars and amino acids. So, what Food industries had to do was to come up with the perfect formula for veggie meat using heme and a variety of different plant-based compounds to not only replicate the flavor of meat but also the textures of animal fat, muscle fiber, and tissue.
This recipe was invented by biochemistry professor Patrick Brown from Stanford University in the US, and it’s now being manufactured by his food company “Impossible Foods” Which is millions dollar industry.
FDA decision on leghemoglobin
Even though it faced many contradictions, the FDA (food drug administration) has declared that Impossible Foods addressed the safety of soy leghemoglobin, yeast protein is not a major allergen, and additional studies by the FDA are not necessary. This means that the company can continue selling Impossible Food.
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