In this file:
· Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet
· Fake meat isn't meat, legislation needed
· We tried Impossible Foods’ new pork, the latest fake meat from the Bill Gates-backed company
Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet
Scientists are replacing crops and livestock with food made from microbes and water. It may save humanity’s bacon
George Monbiot, Opinion, The Guardian (UK)
8 Jan 2020
It sounds like a miracle, but no great technological leaps were required. In a commercial lab on the outskirts of Helsinki, I watched scientists turn water into food. Through a porthole in a metal tank, I could see a yellow froth churning. It’s a primordial soup of bacteria, taken from the soil and multiplied in the laboratory, using hydrogen extracted from water as its energy source. When the froth was siphoned through a tangle of pipes and squirted on to heated rollers, it turned into a rich yellow flour.
This flour is not yet licensed for sale. But the scientists, working for a company called Solar Foods, were allowed to give me some while filming our documentary Apocalypse Cow. I asked them to make me a pancake: I would be the first person on Earth, beyond the lab staff, to eat such a thing. They set up a frying pan in the lab, mixed the flour with oat milk, and I took my small step for man. It tasted … just like a pancake.
But pancakes are not the intended product. Such flours are likely soon to become the feedstock for almost everything. In their raw state, they can replace the fillers now used in thousands of food products. When the bacteria are modified they will create the specific proteins needed for lab-grown meat, milk and eggs. Other tweaks will produce lauric acid – goodbye palm oil – and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids – hello lab-grown fish. The carbohydrates that remain when proteins and fats have been extracted could replace everything from pasta flour to potato crisps. The first commercial factory built by Solar Foods should be running next year.
The hydrogen pathway used by Solar Foods is about 10 times as efficient as photosynthesis. But because only part of a plant can be eaten, while the bacterial flour is mangetout, you can multiply that efficiency several times. And because it will be brewed in giant vats the land efficiency, the company estimates, is roughly 20,000 times greater. Everyone on Earth could be handsomely fed, and using a tiny fraction of its surface. If, as the company intends, the water used in the process (which is much less than required by farming) is electrolysed with solar power, the best places to build these plants will be deserts.
We are on the cusp of the biggest economic transformation, of any kind, for 200 years. While arguments rage about plant- versus meat-based diets, new technologies will soon make them irrelevant. Before long, most of our food will come neither from animals nor plants, but from unicellular life. After 12,000 years of feeding humankind, all farming except fruit and veg production is likely to be replaced by ferming: brewing microbes through precision fermentation. This means multiplying particular micro-organisms, to produce particular products, in factories.I know some people will be horrified by this prospect. I can see some drawbacks. But I believe it comes in the nick of time.
Several impending disasters are converging on our food supply, any of which could be catastrophic...
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Fake meat isn't meat, legislation needed
Robert E. McKnight Jr., Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
via KMA Land (IA) - Jan 7, 2020
Opinion | Recently the “Houston Chronicle” and “San Antonio Express-News” ran a commentary piece from columnist Chris Tomlinson attacking beef in favor of plant-based proteins. Like most vegan marketing, it does a fantastic job of cherry-picking data and using opinion instead of facts and legitimate science.
Let’s break it down to separate fact from opinion.
Tomlinson begins by pointing to informal taste tests he conducts with friends, comparing burgers made with real beef to plant-based imitations. No one can argue that taste preferences are personal things – and we cattle producers have been known to have an independent streak ourselves.
The problem comes when he asserts that people should prefer imitation products because they “are worried about their health and the environment.” Those claims have come under increasing fire by the medical and environmental community as more-legitimate research begins to contradict the advertising rhetoric touted by manufacturers of plant-based imitations.
Fact: Soy and pea-based burgers are not healthier than their 100-percent-beef counterparts. A breakdown of the nutritional properties of both reveals that 93-percent-lean beef has fewer calories and less fat, saturated fat and sodium than plant-based imitators. Beef does have more cholesterol, but it also has more protein.
Many medical professionals have expressed concerns about plant-based meat substitutes because they don’t offer better nutrition but do contain dozens of greatly processed laboratory-invented ingredients. The healthfulness of those ingredients still leaves questions for many researchers.
One only needs to look at certain pet foods as an example. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now launched an investigation after increasing numbers of dogs have been diagnosed with a rare heart condition while eating a diet with more pea-based proteins – a diet once deemed safe. The exact cause isn’t yet known; a big question mark hangs in the minds of many pet owners.
On the environmental side, proponents of the new imitation-meat products like to point to global numbers developed by the United Nations...
We tried Impossible Foods’ new pork, the latest fake meat from the Bill Gates-backed company
by Kevin Lisota, GeekWire
January 7, 2020
LAS VEGAS — Impossible Foods, the fake meat company with investors such as Bill Gates, was back at CES this week and had one of the more unusual product launches. The company introduced two new meat-replacements: Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage. It’s the first new products for Impossible since the Impossible Burger debuted in 2016.
GeekWire Managing Editor Taylor Soper and I got a chance to taste the plant-based, gluten-free Impossible Pork — here’s our review:
The first few bites were awesome — and surprising. Juicy and flavorful is not what I expect from fake meat. It was almost like actual pork, but felt about 90 percent “real.” Something was missing, but not much.
I would definitely eat it again, especially given the reduced fat and cholesterol content and environmental impact. But what about thee price, and the high sodium content (370mg per serving)? Is Impossible Pork really better for you and better for the planet?
Kevin’s Take ...