Impossible Foods' plant-based pork can be tough to swallow for some Muslims and Jews
Impossible Foods' plant-based pork can be tough to swallow for some Muslims and Jews
11:12

Impossible Foods' plant-based pork can be tough to swallow for some Muslims and Jews

Wellness
Speaker 1: I tasted pork for the very first time without eating any pig meat, but as impossible pork, this plant-based alternative halal. Let's find out Speaker 1: My name's a bra and I'm a practicing Muslim, which means I don't eat pork. I have never been inclined to try it because there are plenty of other meat options I can enjoy. But when I heard about impossible pork, I was curious to know what this forbidden food tastes like. And this seemed like the perfect opportunity to find [00:00:30] out. You see impossible. Pork is a plant-based product from impossible foods that has zero pork in it. Instead it's made with ingredients like soy, sunflower oil and coconut oil. That means it can be considered safe for people with certain religious or dietary restrictions to eat. Despite pork being really popular around the world. There are a lot of other people who also avoid pig meat because of their religion. Eating pork is forbidden in interpretations of faiths, including a Islam, Judaism, and some sex of Christianity. So there's an opportunity here for impossible foods [00:01:00] to give people like me, a taste of something they wouldn't otherwise be able to try. I sampled the new product at impossible foods as headquarters in Redwood city, California. I feel really excited, but also nervous. Like this feels kind of wrong. Um, it's kind of, it's really exciting. I think it'll be interesting to know what this tastes like. Um, but yeah, there's a part of me that's like, okay, see you really do this. Uh, but I know it's totally safe, so I'll be fine. Speaker 1: It smells the meat. It doesn't smell very strongly [00:01:30] of meat. I think there's also because there's all these vegetables in the spa meat. It kind of, um, overtakes the smell, but there's a little bit, I mean, there is a little bit of a, of a very like soft, like not too powerful over meat smell, but so far it seems palpable, which is good. I think I'm making the right decision here. I'm very excited. Speaker 1: It still feels so wrong [00:02:00] because it feels like meat fine. I was gonna say there isn't really like a distinct taste except for like the taste of like wrong. But like, I kind of wanna try a piece of the meat by itself because all together it tastes good, but I'm gonna take a little bit of this. I think I'm actually shaking right now. Like there's something in me that's like, this looks like me and it [00:02:30] smells like me tastes like me. Um, it feels slightly wrong to be eating this just because like my whole life it's been like, I, I can't eat pork. I can't, I feel like there have been times where I've almost accidentally eat something that has pork in it. Like sometimes there will be like pizza that has like pepperoni under the cheese and it's like snuck in. You don't realize until you bite into it. So I'm kind of having those same emotions of like, I'm eating this thing that I know is made of it is made to be similar to something I cannot [00:03:00] eat. And so there's, there's like that flavor that like, that I'm supposed to avoid that I now know what it tastes like and I can eat it. It's like a really, there's a lot going on in my brain right now. Um, so yeah, it feels it's, it's, there's a lot, it's very confusing. Speaker 1: I don't, I'm trying to think of whether I would walk into a restaurant and be like, Hey, I would like an impossible pork sandwich. Like, I don't know if I'll get to that point. I guess I really don't think I will, [00:03:30] to be honest because I have other options. Like I could eat chicken instead. I could eat beef. Instead. I'm excited to try this in the situation because like I've never had this type of flavor before, but I doubt that I would be the kind of person who will be like, Hey, I'm just gonna have pork. All the like impossible pork all the time. Now, since I last tried impossible pork, the company has made some small adjustments to the flavor and texture, impossible food scientists. Laura Kilman said since previewing impossible pork at CES 2020, we've improved the texture lowered the so odium and [00:04:00] made some other minor changes to ensure springiness and flavor. Speaker 1: But the average consumer probably wouldn't notice the difference, even though I was nervous about trying impossible pork, I was not prepared for the blowback I got after. I shared my experience on Instagram. People from all over the world, flooded my post with comments saying they were shocked. I would try such a thing. Heck I bet even this video your are watching right now has charged comments. All the debates just made me more curious about the religious implications of a product like this. And thankfully my family and friends didn't have any issues [00:04:30] with me trying impossible pork. In fact, they were just as intrigued by it as I was when impossible pork was first announced, the company said it was designed for halal and kosher certification, but so far it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Impossible foods now says it's not moving forward with those certifications because quote, the authorizing bodies will not certify a product called pork and they wanted to keep that term in the product name. When we stop by the company's headquarters in late 2019 to interview CEO, pat brown, he didn't seem to anticipate any pushback from [00:05:00] religious leaders in communities. As Speaker 2: I understand it, the, the religious prohibitions are, are quite specific to the animal and not, not to the flavor profile or something like that. Right? So, and in fact, I mean, it's a product made entirely from plants. It would surprise me if, if that raised any issues, just being call Speaker 1: Pork in a recent statement, a company representative told us we deemed our product impossible pork made from plants so that consumers understand [00:05:30] what the product is. Our target market is people that currently consume pork from pigs and satisfying. This audience is how we achieve our long-term mission of eliminating animals from the food system. But the decision not to serve impossible pork as halal or kosher reflects the hesitation of some religious leaders. This is ER, ANAM based in Anaheim, California. We interviewed him early last year, along with other Muslim and Jewish leaders. Soon after impossible, pork was unveiled. Pork Speaker 3: Is prohibited in Islam. And, um, [00:06:00] anything that kind of resembles, uh, pork is kind of like, uh, an athema to just Muslim desires, sensibilities tastes. Uh, so it's, it's kind of like, uh, saying, Hey, you know, I know you Muslims can't eat pork, but we'll try and give you something that is almost exactly the same thing. Speaker 1: Armer says. If a member of his congregation said they wanted to try a product like impossible pork, his response would vary based on who's asking him Speaker 3: If it was somebody who [00:06:30] is, let's say a convert to Islam or somebody who used to eat a lot of pork and they became accustomed to it and is challenging for them, uh, to kind of adjust. That's perfectly fine. You know, you can consume it because it's technically, it's not pork. So it's okay. It's not, it's not a problem, but in terms of somebody who, uh, has never really eaten it before, uh, I would not encourage them. And I would not even recommend that they try it, uh, because they're really, wouldn't be much benefit in Speaker 1: Doing so other [00:07:00] religious leaders like dine aren't as a verse to the idea of a plant-based pork product he has seen as the director of student life as tuna college, a private Muslim liberal arts college in Berkeley, California. He says, because impossible pork doesn't contain any actual pig meat. He can't find a reason why it would be prohibited in a Islam. Speaker 4: I was think about this in terms of, um, like a chronic verse, uh, which says, uh, God has created for you all that is on the earth. And if you take that, [00:07:30] that means that there's permissibility in all things except for, and then the category comes in a different verse and chapter five about which have been pro prohibited and the prohibition is related to animal-based proteins, but we're talking about plant-based proteins. Speaker 1: Is this something that you would be willing to eat yourself? Speaker 4: Probably. No. To be honest with you, I would probably say no, because I'm kind of like, look, I, so I wasn't Muslim for 26 years of my life, so I'm not, you know, pork on something that's new to me. It's not [00:08:00] something that, you know, I ate pork in my life prior to, to, to Islam. So for me, it's kind of like what I drink in old duals, right? Like alcoholic beer for me. It's it's, it's not, I don't see any need for it. Speaker 1: Rabbi yo Langer executive director of Shabbat of San Francisco has his own take. What would you say if other follower is in the faith express interest in trying something like impossible pork? Speaker 5: I would say, let me, let me cook some food for you. I'm a chef. Speaker 1: In fact, Langer cooked [00:08:30] us some fake and bacon wrapped hot dogs before our interview to show that plant-based pork products are permissible. He says, there's an understandable stigma in the Jewish community surrounding products. That image hate pork, but that it's important for people to keep an open mind. Speaker 5: Kosher goes very deep. It, it goes into our homes. It, it, it has an influence on our children when they're out in, in the world. And so parents and grandparents, um, are very concerned about that. Um, however, [00:09:00] I think there's always another side to the, to the coin that we also have to take a look at, cuz if we're too strict with our, with our, our children, then they're gonna run away. Regardless Speaker 1: As brown told us back in 2019, the release of impossible pork could be a chance for people to try something new for those, Speaker 2: Um, Jewish people and Muslims who, who have always wanted to eat a pig. I doubt there are many, but, but if there are any, uh, this is the Speaker 1: [00:09:30] Opportunity. Impossible foods is just one of the many companies tapping into a growing appetite for plant-based alternatives. Competitor beyond meat also sells plant-based ground meat and sausages. And several other companies offer products like plant-based bacon sausages, meatballs, and even fish. I actually had the chance to try plant-based bacon at CES last year and was a big fan. This was really good. And this was like, so I've never had pork bacon, but I've had Turkey bacon. And so the consistency is pretty similar. Oh right. And, but I love the sweetness of this cuz I have a [00:10:00] massive sweet tooth despite any heated debates about impossible pork's religious permissibility yen says he's glad discussions are being had to hopefully prevent people from boycoting the product, just because of its name. I'm happy Speaker 4: That this conversation is taking place. I, I would hate to see inform Muslims rallying around, you know, protesting this. And it's kind of like face Palm, like when you protesting it's plant based. Right. You know? And so it would just be a tragedy Speaker 1: While I did have fun trying impossible pork. I prefer my [00:10:30] meals without a side of guilt. My takeaway is that I don't feel like I've missed out on anything my entire life. I think I'm good with not having ground pork. I'm I'm quite alright with like chicken and beef. That's fine. It's really exciting to see how technology makes certain things possible that we didn't imagine were possible before. Like I never thought that I'd be eating a pork sandwich that I can eat. So I'm really excited to see what other kinds of innovations come along that allow people to eat things that they traditionally wouldn't be able to eat. Thanks so much for watching. If you like this video, don't [00:11:00] forget to hit that like button and subscribe for more content from CNET and thank you to the religious leaders who shared their thoughts with us and to impossible foods for inviting me out to try this product. It truly was a memorable experience.

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