Our world is changing rapidly and the next few years are slated to bring us a new kind of reality. One of the big disruptions planned is for the food system.
While I agree that the way food is done today is not in anyone’s best interests, I do not think applying a high tech approach to the problem is the solution.
Groups like The Good Food Institute are attempting “to transform agriculture on the global level”.
They are trying to sell their plans to you by telling you that these products will be clean, humane, and sustainable. Those things cannot honestly be said about what they are trying to feed you. Laboratory grown meats, engineered tiny life made to expel chemically equivalent products, and processed and modified “plant-based” meat substitutes are not sustainable, nor likely to be healthier than real meat, eggs, milk, and beyond.
The problems with the food system cannot truly be solved with Synthetic Biology. We need to stop moving further from the natural way of things and we need to inform the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Google, Tyson, Cargill, and the rest that we are not interested in any more of their tinkering, be it food, the healthcare industry, or the ramping up of technology around us.
Tyson and Cargill’s involvement in this field should make anyone who shops for meat at the grocery store a little uneasy. They are planning on an “easy roll out” for these new and, so called, improved products because of the foothold they already have in stores and on your dinner plate.
Advocates for tissue engineered meat know that calling it that, or other terms like “lab-grown meat”, is not the way to entice the public. “Frankenmeat”. “Test tube meat”. These don’t sound that appealing.
Instead, some started calling it “cultured meat”. Whether you are talking about yogurt or people, it seems good to be cultured.
In an effort to find the most appetizing way to talk about engineered meat, The Good Food Institute, who is striving to remake the food system, did some large scale consumer studies to find the right label.
They ended up going with “clean meat” and are encouraging the tissue-engineered meat field to use that when referring to their products.
According to The Good Food Institute:
Our goal is not to express what is scientifically accurate, but to elicit the most public support for the products.
Tyson Foods has made investments in processed plant-based meat substitutes and in furthering the lab grown meat industry. The company’s investment group recently co-lead a funding round for the Israeli company Future Meat Technologies. Future Meat promises to bring down the price of lab grown meat by recycling the culture media and by imitating other technologies and taking a distributed approach. They intend to build small-scale cell factories. They say they are looking to replace chicken coops with bioreactors.
Future Meat and two other Israeli companies, SuperMeat and Meat the Future, have recently signed a trade deal for $300 million to bring lab-grown meat to China.
Another Israeli start-up, Aleph Farms, is using a proprietary 3D process to grow muscle, fat, blood vessels, and connective tissue together. They are looking to have lab grown steaks on the market by 2020.
Wild Earth, out of Berkeley, California, wants to feed your pets stem cell meat. Have you ever looked into the cancers and other diseases that our pets are facing these days? The “food” industry has long since cared what they were feeding our furry friends and they will no doubt be great little guinea pigs for honing cultured meat production.
Wild Type, out of San Francisco, California, is working on bringing you lab grown salmon.
Geltor is producing collagen and gelatin in microbes and the products have already made their way into cosmetics. Your skin is your biggest organ and what goes on, goes in.
Clara Foods is producing egg whites using engineered yeast.
New Wave Foods broke down what shrimp is on a molecular level and they have reproduced it using pea protein and algae. Their products are currently available in California and Nevada and are expected to be on store shelves nationwide this year.
NouriTech has teamed up with Calysta, another California company, and they have produced an acellular product that they call Feedkind. It is already available and approved in the EU as fish-feed. They have partnered with Cargill, the international food conglomerate, and are constructing a large new facility to brew this fish and animal “feed” in Tennessee with the opening slated for 2020.
Cargill is no doubt shifting this way in an effort to be “sustainable” after being known as a leader in environmental destruction for decades. We need to understand that when these industries use that word; they don’t mean the same thing that you might mean. Their meaning has dollar signs in it, $ustainable
Cargill has also invested alongside Tyson, Bill Gates, and others in the lab-grown meat department. Memphis Meats is an example of that. They have developed three products, lab-grown meatballs, chicken, and duck, with plans to be commercially available by 2021.
Finless Foods is looking to have their cell-cultured Bluefin tuna on the market in 2019.
Google Ventures, Bill Gates, and others are backing the company Impossible Foods which is working,
to transform natural ingredients from plants into meat that outperforms the best beef from a cow — not just in sustainability, cost and nutritional value, but in flavor, texture, craveability and even “meatiness.”
The “bleeding” veggie burgers of Impossible Foods are already being served at over 1,000 restaurants across the country and they’ve just expanded into Asia. They use an ingredient called Heme to get the bleeding effect. Heme is an iron-containing molecule found in the roots of some plants, like soy, but to source it at the scale needed to disrupt food as we know it, Impossible Foods has turned to modifying tiny life to brew it up. According to reports, the FDA is questioning the safety of this core ingredient of the Impossible Burger. They are concerned because this brewed Heme may be an allergen and the data is not there to support it’s safe ingestion by humans.
To make it’s products look and taste like meat, the company uses a proprietary (patented) system which applies heating, cooling, and pressure methods to ingredients in order to replicate natural meat.
Another company, JUST, previously known as Hampton Creek, already has some of their products on store shelves; are sold around the globe; and are in more than 3,600 K-12 public schools and 572 universities. They are another of the Bill Gates backed companies and their plans go beyond mayo, dressings, and cookie dough. JUST is developing hen-less ‘egg’ scramble and they say their lab-grown meat will be on store shelves in 2018. Other companies are said to doubt that stem cell meats will reach commercialization before 2020.
To achieve their 2018 goal, JUST is using machine learning to discover the molecular properties of all the known plants of the world, just like they did for their mung bean based ‘egg’ scramble. JUST intends to replace expensive stem-cell growth media, which traditionally comes from cow or chicken fetuses, with a chemically identical plant-based media.
NotCo is another company using machine learning to take plants from their natural state and transform them in unnatural ways.
JUST and NotCo have both decided to license their technology and discoveries to the world’s largest food manufacturers and meat producers in the hopes of large-scale permanent adoption throughout the food industry.
Perfect Day Foods is producing a cow-less “milk” using modified yeast to brew a product that has the chemical composition of milk, right down to mouth feel. I wonder if they are replicating real, raw milk or the pasteurized, homogenized sort sold in most stores.
I have heard the creators of Perfect Day Foods speak of their milk, and read of the hen-less eggs of JUST being slated to replace milk and eggs as ingredients in products that you might currently be buying. It’s in the name of sustainability and “clean” and humane food that this is coming at us. And depending on what regulators say we might not even need know if the milk and eggs on the ingredient list came from farm animals or from a fermentation tank.
Companies are also working to get biotech into the soil, and some of the products have even been certified as organic.
Monsanto has formed a BioAg Alliance with Novozymes which isolates genes in enzymes, “improves” them, and then brews them up in fermentation tanks, leaving them with a product to sell as a fertilizer ready to spread on your fields. Monsanto played a huge role in the destruction of soil life and now they want to cash in to repopulate the soil with their biotech life. According to BigAg Alliance, their products are currently being used on more than 80 million acres of farm land, mainly in North and South America and they see their biotech life reaching 250-500 million acres globally by 2025. That is, if we let them.
Another company selling these “biological stimulants”, one that has received certified organic status in Canada, is Inocucor. They say they are focusing on “microbial consortia” which they say is an emerging science that takes bacteria and fungi that would not be together in nature, they manipulate them together and brew. Biotech that is certified organic and is already in use.
The synthetic biotech that I found to be the most disturbing is the production of 2′-fucosyllactose, or 2FL for short. Depending on the company producing it, it is expressed from either modified yeast or E coli. 2FL is advertized as a HMO (human milk oligosaccharide) and you will find it in some baby formulas on the market. This has been in stores for over a year. I wonder if parents buying these formulas are aware of the biotech in the mix.
Another company, Triton Algae Innovations, is going after the baby formula market. They have successfully replicated human and bovine Osteopontin (OPN) and are using engineered algae and fermenters to create an artificial colostrum product for use in infant formula.
While industry plows ahead, law makers and regulators have been working on setting guidelines for several years and are still working on how labeling will work with these biotechnology produced “foods”. If recent history teaches us anything, it is that despite concerns about the effect these technologies will have on those who ingest them and the environment, money will do the talking, and we can already see which side the money is on.
If we end up with lab-grown meat on the market, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was not even labeled as such. When you buy meat at the store now, do you ever see a label informing you that your dinner is possibly a clone or the offspring of a clone?
Because in 2008,
the FDA concluded that meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine (pigs), and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.
The food contamination recalls in the news are the perfect lead up to their “clean” options. Quality control. I would think it is no surprise to people today that factory farming is an industry that needs to end. It’s not working. But with this they want to go from one extreme, horrid life and death for the creatures with environmental issues galore, to, “clean” meat, milk, and eggs fresh from the lab.
Also, crop farming is set to really go high tech with things like sensor technologies when 5G and the Internet of Everything go live. Crops have been being altered to prevent spoilage and to make them more amenable to growing in things like salt water because we have allowed the farm subsidies of California to suck in the majority of food production in this country. Yet another thing that is completely unsustainable.
And with the California-Israel Partnership signed in 2014, it’s no surprise that so many of the companies mentioned here stem from these two areas. The nation and the world need to take back their food production.
The solutions are not going to come from the government and regulation. The 2018 Farm Bill that has been proposed is said to be set to “streamline regulation of genetic engineering.”
Personally, I think we, the people, need to shut down Big Ag, Big Medicine, Big Oil, Big Education, and all their mad science gone mad. We need to come together and not allow these insane things to continue. We all have a voice and we all get the same 24 hours in a day. It’s about priorities.
Now I’m not saying band together under a campaign that comes from somewhere up on high with famous spokespeople. So often it is actors, people who lie and make believe for a living, that are put forth to lead us in the direction our frustrations are meant to take us. Don’t allow yourselves to be orchestrated.
If we are really after a solution to the problems with the food industry, we should look to people like Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm. If we want to move away from this world of sickness and disease that we are living in, we need to start living more in harmony with our world.
Confined animals eating food that’s not natural to their diet and that is laced with pesticides, GMOs, and Biotechnology will no doubt produce meat that is bad for you. Same goes for seafood that is farmed using similar methods, only applied to water use, or wild caught fish that have been swimming and eating in the mess we call the world’s oceans.
Why are we so surprised at the diseases we suffer from, when we cause so much dis-ease to the life around us? What goes around, comes around.
Thank you for listening.
~originally posted May 2018~