Impossible Foods’ plant-based nuggets have been blocked in Australia due to the presence of the prohibited compound calcium pantothenate (B5).
A shipment of the US firm’s ‘chicken’ nuggets failed an inspection by the country’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 3 January, according to a filing on the government body’s website.
Calcium pantothenate is the so-called calcium salt of the water-soluble vitamin B5 found in plants and animal tissues but it is banned in “analogue” food products in Australia. Local media reports suggested the compound can cause ‘serious health issues’ when consumed in excessive amounts.
Regulatory body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, confirmed its stance on B5 in a note to Just Food, saying code of rules list “calcium pantothenate as a permitted form of the vitamin pantothenic acid” but added “there is no permission in the code for its use in analogues of meat.”
The statement continued: “The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) identified this as the reason for issuing its holding order for failing food and noted in the context of the fail, the food poses a potential risk to human health as consumption may lead to detrimental excesses or imbalances of the vitamin in consumers of the food.”
It confirmed the standards regulator sets the code of rules, while it is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to enforce them at the Australian border.
All future inbound shipments of Impossible Foods’ plant-based nuggets will now be held and inspected, 9news.com, part of Australia’s Nine Network, reported.
California-based Impossible Foods had not replied to Just Food’s request for comment.
The privately-owned company first launched in Australia’s retail sector last March with the introduction of its Impossible Beef mince following the launch in foodservice a few months earlier. Founded in 2011 by Pat Brown, it also produces plant-based burgers and pork.
Brown stepped down as CEO in 2022. Peter McGuinness, the former chief operating officer of US dairy and alt-dairy business Chobani, succeeded the Impossible Foods’ founder in April last year.