Impossible Foods, a California-based company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products, is releasing The Impossible Pork.
However, unlike the popular Impossible Burger, it will not be receiving kosher certification from the OU, JTA reported.
“The Impossible Pork, we didn’t give an ‘OU’ to it, not because it wasn’t kosher per se,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division. “It may indeed be completely in terms of its ingredients: If it’s completely plant-derived, it’s kosher. Just in terms of sensitivities to the consumer … it didn’t get it.”
“The Impossible Burger itself is a huge, huge success and people really, really like it,” Genack said. “It’s a really excellent, excellent product in every respect.”
But Genack said that when the OU once certified “bacon” as kosher they were bombarded with negative feedback.
“We still get deluged with calls from consumers who either don’t get it or they’re uncomfortable with it,” he said.
Genack clarified that although OU certifies items related to pork such as Trader Joe’s “spicy porkless plant-based snack rinds,” the agency decided that certifying a product called “pork” was a red line they aren’t willing to cross right now.
“We of course discussed it with the company and they understood,” he said.
Genack added that OU was very close to agreeing to certify the “pork,” and may reconsider its decision to refrain from doing so in the future.
“It could have gone either way, frankly,” Genack said. “This is something which we absolutely would be willing to review in the future.”
Despite OU’s unwillingness to certify its “pork,” Impossible Foods is moving ahead with releasing the product with its original name.
“While Impossible Pork was originally designed for Halal and Kosher certification, we aren’t moving forward with those certifications as we wish to continue to use the term ‘Pork’ in our product name,” an Impossible Foods spokesperson told JTA in an email.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)