I come to you with good news and bad news, friends.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we?
In the most recent incident of horrifying sanitation problems associated with factory farming, 13 European Union countries have recalled more than one million contaminated eggs, while millions more were stopped on the farms. These recalls come after tests revealed the presence of fipronil in eggs (an insecticide used to treat lice in chickens), which can damage people’s liver, kidneys, and thyroid glands.
But as the BBC discovered, Belgium actually knew about the contaminated eggs as far back as June, and failed to disclose that information because of an ongoing fraud investigation (this is not getting any better).
As officials work to pinpoint how exactly this happened, supermarkets across Europe are pulling items made with eggs from their shelves. With the space constraints applied to chickens on factory farms, it doesn't seem like a mystery as to how lice could become a serious problem, and subsequently, how fipronil could end up in the egg supply, but I'll end my editorializing there.
Now, on to the news that answers the question: So what’s going to fill the space left by all those recalled eggs, egg salads, and egg sandwiches? Just (aka Hampton Creek) has announced that its long-awaited plant-based egg product, Just Scramble, is (just) around the corner after achieving a major milestone: a thumbs-up from the FDA to use the mung bean protein isolate that is one of the key drivers behind the product's ability to mimic the texture and functionality of a chicken egg.
The isolate, which the Just team has nicknamed “Jack” was met with a “No Questions” letter from the FDA. This means that there are no safety concerns and it falls into the category of foods “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). This is only the seventh plant-protein isolate to be reviewed and given GRAS status by the agency.
[Wondering why there aren’t more plant proteins on that list? We’re working on it.]
As people, the planet, and animals continue to pay the price for our deeply flawed approach to animal farming, it's hopeful to see plant-based meat, dairy, and egg products lining up to give consumers a better option.
We can't wait.
To learn more about GFI's work supporting animal-free food innovation, check out what we do.