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posted by martyb on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:37AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bloody-well-right dept.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved soy leghemoglobin as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption:

Last August, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the FDA hadn't stomached the company's previous GRAS application. The agency concluded that soy leghemoglobin—a protein found in the roots of soybean plants that Impossible Foods harvests from genetically engineered yeast and uses to simulate the taste and bloodiness of meat—had not been adequately tested for safety.

In the application, Impossible Foods argued that the iron-containing protein is equivalent to hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells and commonly consumed in meat. Thus, the protein was safe, the company concluded. It went as far as conducting studies in rats to back up the claim. But the FDA noted that soy leghemoglobin had never been used as an additive before, and the organization wanted data showing that the protein was safe and not an allergen specifically for humans.

[...] At the time, the decision was a searing blow to Impossible Foods, which up until then had fired up the appetites of investors and top chefs alike and savored glowing publicity. Since the company's founding in 2011, big names such as Bill Gates and Google Ventures served up more than $250 million in startup funds, and the impossible patty sizzled on the menus of such high-end restaurants as Momofuku Nishi in New York and Jardinière in San Francisco. The soy leghemoglobin was a big part of that hype, with the company touting it as its "secret sauce."

But the FDA's gut check didn't knock Impossible Foods off the market; it just left a bad taste. In fact, the company wasn't even required to submit its GRAS application to begin with due to the controversial way in which the FDA oversees food additives and GRAS designations. Under the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the 1958 Food Additives Amendment, the FDA allows food companies and their hired consultants to internally test and determine a GRAS designation of a potential new additive all on their own. They can start using it without getting approval from the FDA or even notifying the agency. The FDA only steps in after the fact if problems arise.

Impossible Foods' FAQ says "the heme molecule in plant-based heme is atom-for-atom identical to the heme molecule found in meat". Heme is a component of soy leghemoglobin consisting of an iron atom bound in a porphyrin ring.

Meanwhile, the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are continuing to fight over which agency will have jurisdiction over "cultured meat" (i.e. lab-grown animal cells for human consumption):

In a daylong discussion of safety considerations, the agency asserted its jurisdiction over products made of chicken, beef, pork, and seafood cells grown in a culture medium, despite recent calls—including a proposal from lawmakers in the House of Representatives—to leave that responsibility to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Cultured meat, also sometimes called clean meat or lab-grown meat, is made by extracting cells from an animal and prompting them to mature into muscle fibers and grow in a bioreactor. No products have yet hit the market, though several companies have suggested that their first generation of cultured meat will be available in the next 5 years.

Previously: Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat"

Related: Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021


Original Submission

Related Stories

Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers 44 comments

Impossible Foods, the six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company known for its "juicy" meatless burgers, quietly announced $75 million in funding late last week, led by Temasek, with participation from Open Philanthropy, as well as earlier investors Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and Horizon Ventures.

The company says it isn't providing further financial details but the round brings Impossible's funding to nearly $300 million, including earlier rounds that have included GV, Viking Global Investors and UBS.

Impossible's burgers are made with  soy leghemoglobin, a protein that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every animal and plant.

The company has said it wants to replace a number of animal products with goods engineered from plants, but for now, it seems squarely focused on getting more of its burgers into the world. Part of that strategy involved opening a factory in Oakland, Ca., in May, where it expects to be producing 1 million pounds of ground "plant meat" each month.

Thought the race was on to have us eat insects.


Original Submission

Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds' 42 comments

From Wired:

WIRED wants to take you on the deepest dive yet into the science behind the Impossible Burger.

Biting into an Impossible Burger is to bite into a future in which humanity has to somehow feed an exploding population and not further imperil the planet with ever more livestock. Because livestock, and cows in particular, go through unfathomable amounts of food and water (up to 11,000 gallons a year per cow) and take up vast stretches of land. And their gastrointestinal methane emissions aren't doing the fight against global warming any favors either (cattle gas makes up 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide).

This is the inside story of the engineering of the Impossible Burger, the fake meat on a mission to change the world with one part soy plant, one part genetically engineered yeast—and one part activism. As it happens, though, you can't raise hell in the food supply without first raising a few eyebrows.

Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021 39 comments

Submitted via IRC for takyon

Cargill Inc., one of the largest global agricultural companies, has joined Bill Gates and other business giants to invest in a nascent technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells amid rising consumer demand for protein that's less reliant on feed, land and water.

Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup's website. The fundraising round was led by venture-capital firm DFJ, which has previously backed several social-minded retail startups.

They made the first ever chicken and duck meat that were produced without the animals.

The company expects to have a product in stores by 2021.

"They're the leader in clean meat. There's no one else that far along," says venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, whose firm led Memphis Meats' recent $17 million Series A. Before he met Valeti in 2016, Jurvetson spent almost five years researching lab-grown meat and meat alternatives, believing the market was set to explode. "They're the only one that convinced me they can get to a price point and a scale that would make a difference in the industry," he says.

Cargill is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue ($109.7 billion in 2017).

Source: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/10/cargill-bill-gates-richard-branson-backed-memphis-meats-expects-meat-from-cells-in-stores-by-2021.html

Previously: Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years

Related: Lab-grown meat would 'cut emissions and save energy'
Producing Beef has the Greatest Impact on the Environment Compared to Other Animal Based Foods
Real Vegan Cheese: Coming From a Yeast to You
Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality


Original Submission

U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat" 80 comments

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop an official definition for terms like "meat" and "beef", as plant-based alternatives to meats continue to grow in popularity and lab-grown/cultured meat may be coming soon:

Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are combining plant-based ingredients and science, rather than animals, to create fake-meat burgers and other products that taste like the real thing.

Now U.S. Cattlemen's Association is looking to draw a line in the sand. The association launched what could be the first salvo in a long battle against plant-based foods. Earlier this month, the association filed a 15-page petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture calling for an official definition for the term "beef," and more broadly, "meat."

"While at this time alternative protein sources are not a direct threat to the beef industry, we do see improper labeling of these products as misleading," said Lia Biondo, the association's policy and outreach director. "Our goal is to head off the problem before it becomes a larger issue."

[...] While these foods are commonly dubbed "fake meat," there's a little more to the meat-substitute market than that. The Good Food Institute, which advocates a sustainable food supply, breaks it down into two categories: clean meat and plant-based meat. Clean meat refers to "meat" grown in a lab from a small amount of animal stem cells. This kind of meat isn't on the market yet, but it's in development. Plant-based meat is anything that mimics traditional meat but is made mainly using plant ingredients.

Here's an idea: define "meat" for the Cattlemen's Association, then tax it with an exemption for "lab-grown meat".

Related: Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality
Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021
Meat Tax Proposed for Sake of Human and Environmental Health.


Original Submission

Plant-Based "Impossible Burger" Coming to Every Burger King Location 40 comments

The Impossible Whopper is coming to every Burger King in America next week

Burger King will start selling its meatless Whopper across the United States on August 8, the biggest rollout for Impossible's plant-based product.

The burger chain has been selling the Impossible Whopper, featuring a meatless patty made by Impossible Foods, in a few markets in the United States since April. It first tested the product in St. Louis before announcing in May that it would offer the Impossible Whopper nationally this year.

Interest in plant-based protein has surged as many people try to reduce their meat intake for health or environmental reasons. US retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11% in the past year, according to a July report from trade group Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that supports plant-based businesses.

Previously: Meatless "Beyond Burgers" Come to Fast Food Restaurants
Burger King Adds Impossible Vegan Burger To Menu

Related: Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat"
Following IPO of Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods Plans Launch of its Own Meatless Products


Original Submission

Burger King Grilled by Vegan Over Impossible Burger "Meat Contamination" 84 comments

Lawsuit claims Burger King's Impossible Whoppers are contaminated by meat

Burger King was sued on Monday by a vegan customer who accused the fast-food chain of contaminating its meatless "Impossible" Whoppers by cooking them on the same grills as its traditional meat burgers.

In a proposed class action, Phillip Williams said he bought an Impossible Whopper, a plant-based alternative to Burger King's regular Whopper, at an Atlanta drive-through, and would not have paid a premium price had he known the cooking would leave it "coated in meat by-products."

The lawsuit filed in Miami federal court seeks damages for all U.S. purchasers of the Impossible Whopper, and an injunction requiring Burger King to "plainly disclose" that Impossible Whoppers and regular burgers are cooked on the same grills.

[...] Its website describes the Impossible Burger as "100% Whopper, 0% Beef," and adds that "for guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request."

Also at Boing Boing.

Previously: Meatless "Beyond Burgers" Come to Fast Food Restaurants
Burger King Adds Impossible Vegan Burger To Menu
Plant-Based "Impossible Burger" Coming to Every Burger King Location

Related: Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat"
Following IPO of Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods Plans Launch of its Own Meatless Products
Impossible Burger Lands in Some California Grocery Stores


Original Submission

Ethics Training for Coders 67 comments

Computer Programmers get new Tech Ethics Code

The guidelines come from the Association for Computing Machinery

Technological professionals are the first, and last, lines of defense against the misuse of technology. Nobody else understands the systems as well, and nobody else is in a position to protect specific data elements or ensure the connections between one component and another are appropriate, safe and reliable. As the role of computing continues its decades-long expansion in society, computer scientists are central to what happens next.

Personally, I am quite concerned that our Congress has not attached Responsibility with Rights when it comes to software. If someone is going to claim ownership and rights to a piece of code then protect it with electronic lock or obscurity, why aren't they also held 100% responsible if that code causes mayhem?

We just had a story here about the concerns we have about a hemoglobin based meat substitute ... and what we go through to make damn sure the substance is harmless to life before we introduce it into the food chain... and even *that* has to be completely described and its molecular structure demonstrated.

Can you imagine the uproar if Chemists started releasing anything tasty, that people would eat, and call it "food"? And would our Congress grant them the right to withhold information as to what it was? Then hold them harmless for whatever it did to people?


Original Submission

Meat Industry PR Campaign Bashes Plant-Based Meat Alternatives 58 comments

Plant-based burgers are "ultra-processed" like dog food, meat-backed ads say

A public-relations firm backed by meat producers has unleashed a savage marketing campaign that claims plant-based meat alternatives are unhealthy, "ultra-processed imitations" similar to dog food.

The campaign rolled out in recent weeks from the industry-funded firm Center for Consumer Freedom, according to The New York Times. So far, it has included full-page ads and opinion pieces in mainstream newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. All the marketing material raises health concerns about trendy meat alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger.

One ad posed the question "What's hiding in your plant-based meat?" Another directed readers to take the quiz "Veggie Burger or Dog Food?"

In an op-ed, the managing director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, Will Coggin, labeled meat alternatives as "ultra-processed" foods and noted that a recent study led by the researchers at the National Institutes of Health linked ultra-processed foods to weight gain.

The negative marketing campaign comes amid soaring popularity of meat alternatives, which threaten to slice into the meat market's sales and profits. In recent months, big players in the meat industry had tried a different—some might say hypocritical—tactic to compete with the new comers—that is, they released their own lines of meat alternatives. Now, the industry wants consumers to think such alternatives are unhealthy.

Older stories:


Original Submission

Missouri Regulates Use of the Word "Meat" by Food Producers 37 comments

Missouri has prohibited producers of meat alternatives, such as lab-grown/cultured meat and plant-based fake meats, from using the term "meat" to describe products not derived from harvested livestock or poultry:

On Tuesday, Missouri becomes the first state in the country to have a law on the books that prohibits food makers to use the word "meat" to refer to anything other than animal flesh. This takes aim at manufacturers of what has been dubbed fake or non-traditional meat. Clean meat -- also known as lab-grown meat -- is made of cultured animal tissue cells, while plant-based meat is generally from ingredients such as soy, tempeh and seitan.

The state law forbids "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Violators may be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for a year.

[...] The Missouri Cattlemen's Association, which worked to get the state law passed, has cited shopper confusion and protecting local ranchers as reasons for the legislation. "The big issue was marketing with integrity and...consumers knowing what they're getting," said Missouri Cattlemen's Association spokesman Mike Deering. "There's so much unknown about this."

Turtle Island Foods, which makes "Tofurky", has sued the state:

Meatless "Beyond Burgers" Come to Fast Food Restaurants 58 comments

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Meatless 'Beyond Burgers' come to Carl's Jr. restaurants

The competition in lab-made veggie burgers is heating up. Beyond Meat has brought its burgers to more than 1,000 Carl's Jr. locations in the US, marking its Beyond's largest restaurant deal to date. Order a $6.29 Beyond Famous Star and you can eat a vegetarian (sorry vegans, there's American cheese) burg that tastes much like its conventional beef counterparts. You can also pay $2 to add a Beyond patty to other burgers on the menu. [...] You can already eat Impossible burgers of various sizes at White Castle, Hopdoddy, [and] Umami Burger

The veggie burgers won't be available at Hardee's (a nearly identical fast food chain operated by the same parent company). Sorry, "flexitarians".

Big Beef Prepares For Battle, As Interest Grows In Plant-Based And Lab-Grown Meats

The U.S. meat industry is gigantic, with roughly $200 billion a year in sales, and getting larger. But the industry faces emerging threats on two fronts: plant-based meat substitutes and actual meat grown in labs. Plant-based meat substitutes are a lot more, well, meaty than they used to be. They sear on the grill and even "bleed." They look, taste and feel in the mouth a lot like meat. Savannah Blevin, a server at Charlie Hooper's, an old-school bar and grill in Kansas City, Mo., says the vegetarian Impossible Burgers on the menu are popular with the meat-eating crowd. "I had a vegetarian actually turn it away, because it reminded them so much of meat, they sent it back," says Blevins. "It's delicious," she adds.

The industry that makes these products is taking off, growing 20 percent a year. "Business is booming," says Todd Boyman, co-founder of food company Hungry Planet. "We just can't keep up. We're actually having to expand our production facilities to keep up with the demand that's out there for this type of food."

[...] The meat industry is focused on shaping the regulatory environment for its new competitors, taking into account lessons learned from the rise of plant-based milks.

Previously: Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat"

Related: U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat"
Missouri Regulates Use of the Word "Meat" by Food Producers


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:46AM (#719260)

    Instead of "pink slime" we could have had an aristarchus submission. Where is aristarchus? Has he been turned into Pink Slime? SoylentNews is turning into "cultured meat", when everyone was supposed to know that SoylentNews is people.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:49AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:49AM (#719261)

    So they know its safe after 1 year?

    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @08:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @08:04AM (#719287)

      They know it's safe because the Chinese been eating soy for over 3 millennia.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by anubi on Thursday August 09 2018, @11:50AM (2 children)

      by anubi (2828) on Thursday August 09 2018, @11:50AM (#719320) Journal

      How about slipping this into dog food first, and watching the statistics carefully to see how well the dogs take to it?

      We have millions of dogs eating dog food... and most have regular vet visits... and the dogs will enjoy a tastier meal than that ground cornmeal sawdust they normally get. It will also let them get the factories cranked up and optimized to make this stuff in quantity.

      I like this idea... hope it succeeds. But before we put it out as a foodstuff, I'd love to have the assurance that other mammals have been eating it as well, for a couple of years, and no statistical trends showed up. Too many things look good in a lab, then don't pan out in the field.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday August 09 2018, @01:43PM

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Thursday August 09 2018, @01:43PM (#719361) Homepage
        Yay, and that will liberate the not-fit-for-human-consumption meat from the dog-food market, so that we can finally supply all the food banks in San Francisco!
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 4, Touché) by bob_super on Thursday August 09 2018, @05:44PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 09 2018, @05:44PM (#719498)

        "Don't you dare threaten dogs with science experiments!" - Peta
        "We agree with Peta, it's cheaper to get feedback from humans anyway" - The industry

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @12:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @12:45PM (#719340)

    maybe this will also allow artificial blood and finally pacify all them blood suckers.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Thursday August 09 2018, @01:42PM (5 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Thursday August 09 2018, @01:42PM (#719359) Homepage
    "hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells and commonly consumed in meat."

    Erm, nope, that myloglobin, meat isn't bloody, it just looks that way. It's almost entirely unrelated to haemoglobin apart from the fact that it also contains a 'heme' group (which act as the oxygen transport), and also belongs to the large family of globins.
    --
    I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @02:50PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @02:50PM (#719395)

      It's the first word you quoted in your reply, and you can't even spell it correctly? Dude. Duuuude...

      • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:08PM (3 children)

        by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 09 2018, @04:08PM (#719441)
        He just used the fruity British spelling of it. Both are perfectly correct.
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @06:53PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09 2018, @06:53PM (#719538)

          Hæmoglobin, not hæmaglobin, you chæky poofter!

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Friday August 10 2018, @06:38AM (1 child)

            by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Friday August 10 2018, @06:38AM (#719824) Homepage
            No, you're confusing English, the language I use, with Latin or Greek, the origins of part of the word. The actual origin of this precise current word is the historical haematoglobulin.
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
            • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10 2018, @01:50PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10 2018, @01:50PM (#719901)

              I'm afraid you're confusing a misspelling that you make with English, the language you're trying to use.
              As evidence, I offer the following UK-based online dictionaries, none of which recognize your "haemaglobin" spelling:
              Cambridge [cambridge.org]
              Collins [collinsdictionary.com]
              Oxford Living Dictionary [oxforddictionaries.com]
              MacMillan [macmillandictionary.com]
              (I also checked Chambers, but can't post a link because their search function doesn't use nice URLs. They don't recognize it either.)

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by legont on Friday August 10 2018, @02:07AM

    by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 10 2018, @02:07AM (#719741)

    Are we going to get it as well? Would be the most nutritious, I guess.

    How about my steak made from my own butt? Do I have a right to do whatever I want to my body including eating it? People eat their nails all the time, you know. Should be less controversial than abortions.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
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