May 4 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court has ruled Impossible Foods can use "heme," a color additive, which the company says makes its plant-based burgers taste like meat.
Impossible Foods has marketed the genetically engineered soy protein as containing heme, an iron-containing molecule that helps its plants-based burgers "taste like meat," by filling craving for iron.
The red coloring of heme also makes the Impossible Burger appear to "bleed" like meat.
The nonprofit Center for Food Safety had petitioned the appeals court to review the FDA decision, after arguing in lawsuit last year that the FDA used a weaker standard than it should have to approve heme's use since its decision was based on safety standards for food additives instead of color additives.
The three Circuit Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Impossible Foods petition for review Monday. Two of them said the FDA applied the correct standard and the FDA had "substantial evidence," of the additive's safety, and the third declined to consider whether the FDA standard was valid or not since he said the nonprofit lacked standing to challenge the FDA's decision.
"We are disappointed by the court's ruling today, which will allow Impossible Burger and other meatless burgers to be made with novel genetically engineered chemical without conducting any long-term health studies," Center for Food Safety's Senior Attorney Sylvia Wu said in a statement. "FDA is supposed to protect consumers from unsafe novel chemicals in our food supply, instead now consumers bear the burden of avoiding those GMO plant-based burgers."