Vegan Sues Burger King’s Impossible Whopper

Is it possible Burger King’s Impossible Burger has traces of meat? 
Friday 22 November 2019
Burger King has launched its soy-based Impossible Whopper nationwide in the United States. Photo: Drew Angerer / AFP

A man is suing Burger King for false advertising. The class action lawsuit, filed on Monday in the Southern District of Florida, claims that although the burger chain advertises its vegan option as meat-free, it is contaminated by meat by-product, as the Impossible Whopper was cooked on the same grill as meat products.

However, before we dive further into the lawsuit, let’s first take a look at the sensation behind the Impossible Burger.

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Wanna bite? Photo: Impossible Foods

What is the Impossible Burger?

Impossible Foods created the world’s first plant-based, meat-free burger, in a bid to save the earth from the massive carbon footprint generated from meat. Beef causes the most damage to the environment when compared to other meat options like chicken and lamb. It carries up to seven kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per serving.

According to the World Resource Institute, producing beef uses 20 times the land and emits 20 times the emissions as compared to producing beans, per gram of protein. With massive environmental impacts such as these, Impossible Foods began in 2011, with an ambitious project to completely replace the use of animals as a food production technology, within the next two decades.

In 2016, the meat-free treat made headlines with its debut at Momofuku Nishi in New York City. The Impossible Burger is now available in more than 8,000 restaurants in every state in the United States. The burger has also made its way to Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau and has since seen its popularity grown, as sales quadrupled in Asia during the second quarter of 2019.

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The Impossible Burger served in Singapore’s Privé. Photo: Impossible Foods

What does the Impossible Burger taste like?

Unfortunately, Malaysia is yet to welcome the plant-based burger to its dining scene. But BBC Good Food did try it out. Like any meat-based patty, the Impossible Burger too bleeds and sizzles on the grill. According to Juliet Sear of BBC Good Food, the burger had the “naughty, fatty taste” that she was after, thanks to the addition of coconut oil to the soy patty.

However, the main reason behind the resemblance of this vegan burger to a beef patty is the use of heme – a molecule that makes meat taste like meat. It carries the bold iron flavor that oozes out from a juicy slab of steak. The company began by extracting heme from the roots of soybean plants, before deciding to improve the process with genetic engineering – leading to the creation of the plant-based patty.

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The Impossible Whopper launched nationwide in the US on 8 August 2019. Photo: Impossible Foods

Lawsuit against Burger King’s Impossible Whopper

Phillip Williams filed a lawsuit against the fast-food giant after the cooking method was brought to his knowledge. According to CNN, Williams is a vegan who does not eat or drink anything that uses animal by-products.

He purchased an Impossible Whopper at Atlanta in August after seeing advertisements and paid “premium price” for the meatless option, according to the lawsuit. He said Burger King’s tagline – “100% Whopper, 0% Beef” – was misleading.

The lawsuit alleges that if he had known the burger would be cooked in such a manner, he would have not purchased it. However, Burger King mentions that “for guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request,” the site notes.

But the Burger King that Williams visited did not have signage at the drive-thru indicating that the plant-based burger would be cooked on the same grill as meat. Therefore, giving food for thought as to who’s really at fault here?

Source: AFP Relax News and CNN

Related: Disney Parks Set to Board the Vegan Train