Impossible Foods’ Oakland factory has been found fully compliant with halal requirements, the company behind the popular Impossible burger, a convincing beef substitute, has announced. The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is set to bestow its certification on Impossible Foods starting December 11, marking a milestone for the company — and for vegans who keep halal, but also want to bite into a juicy burger with simulated blood made from plants.
Impossible Foods creates that“bloody,” beef-like taste with heme, a protein found in blood, by recreating it with soy leghemoglobin and fermentation. The rest of the burger is made with wheat, coconut oil, potatoes, and other plant ingredients. Founded by former Stanford biochemistry professor Dr. Patrick Brown, the Redwood City headquartered Impossible Foods now sells its products at 5,000 restaurants including major chains like White Castle. That’s up hugely over just two years, when a handful of high-end establishments like Jardiniere in San Francisco and Momofuku Nishi in New York first introduced the Impossible Burger to customers.
Next up is retail: The company has plans to sell directly to home cooks next year. And as Impossible grows, Halal certification is likely to endear it to more customers. Halal, literally Arabic for allowed or permitted, is a term that applies to products of all kinds, from makeups to foods. To be halal, meat and poultry needs to be processed in accordance wth Islamic requirements.
While the Impossible Burger is made from plants, that doesn’t automatically a halal burger make. The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), which counts itself as the leading halal-certifying organization in the United States, still needs to perform a review of the product and its facility before it offers its certification. If the burger contained alcohol, for instance, it could be disqualified.
In a similar process, Impossible foods was certified Kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America earlier this year. Such certifications could also help Impossible stand out in the growing imitation meat market: Competitor Beyond meats, for example, hasn’t yet been certified halal.