Beyond Meat, a significant deal recently signed with Shuangta Foods, located in Shandong province of China.

"We have plenty of opportunities to buy food—whether plants, real meat or any other food—which is grown and produced right here in North America," said Will Coggin, managing director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a advocacy group supported by the food industry.

Fans of meat alternatives cite animal welfare, climate change, global food shortage and human health as reasons for devotion to them.

As a result, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have signed deals with Dunkin Donuts and Burger King, making their way into the mainstream.

Plant-based proteins from China have been used to produce pet food, which in 2007 killed nearly 4,000 cats and dogs across the United States.

While many American food companies originate their pea protein from China, few disclose much to regulators in the US or Europe.

In asking the agency to certify that its ingredients are "Generally Recognized As Safe," Axiom Foods provided more than 100 pages of data to the FDA, a designation that would exempt it from many food safety regulations.

Representatives from Now Foods and Beyond Meat have not responded to requests for comments on how to guarantee the safety and quality of food sourced from China in view of the role of that nation in sparking the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "Supplier Code of Conduct" issued to Impossible Foods vendors places the food safety burden on their shoulders stating that they must ensure ingredients "are properly labeled and comply with all federal, state and local requirements. Suppliers are required to report to us immediately any issues that could adversely affect the quality or safety of any Impossible Food product."

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A television exposé found workers who had sat on the floor handling meat with their bare hands and packaging ground beef patties.

A 2018 study by the Clean Label Project, a non-profit watchdog licensing food producers with safety certifications, found significant levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and other toxins in most of the 130 protein powders sold at Amazon and organic food retailers.

Despite a raft of scandals, China continues to dominate the food processing worldwide.

According to research published by the Good Food Institute, a advocacy group that promotes vegan food, China today processes up to 79 percent of soy protein isolate, 50 percent of textured soy protein and 23 percent of soy protein concentrate used worldwide.

Since 2016, China's share of the global food processing market has stepped sharply.

"As of 2017, China had seven pea producers with a total processing capacity of 67,453 tons per year, which according to the expansion plans will increase to 146,313 tons per year by the end of 2019," the Good Food Institute wrote in 2019.

Nearly 24 percent of Americans saw China as America's biggest threat, tying with Russia and well ahead of North Korea's 12 percent.

Impossible Foods founder and CEO Pat Brown forecast solid growth at year-end.

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