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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday November 05 2017, @03:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the vat-grown dept.

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


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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday November 05 2017, @03:39PM (9 children)

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday November 05 2017, @03:39PM (#592537) Homepage

    Vegetarian and Vegan faggots will still continue to be vegetarian and vegan, they wouldn't dare give up their smug sense of righteousness and ugly bumper stickers on the back of their Priuses.

    Chicken is for people who don't know what they want to order. Let's hope that Memphis meats can do seafood and shellfish next.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday November 05 2017, @03:43PM (15 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 05 2017, @03:43PM (#592540) Journal

    I will be all over this. I'm an omnivore but once this is mainstream and at a reasonable price i probably won't ever eat a slaughtered animal again. This has ripple effects beyond the "last mile" as it were of meat farming, too; we could grow better things than corn, we could reforest a crapton of land, we could start growing loads of bamboo for structure or switchgrass for fuel...

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @04:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @04:11PM (#592547)

      I won't, at least not for a very long time. Making food substitutes has always come with unrecognized risks and I'll be skeptical that they've really managed to get it right.

      Meat is more than just the cells, there's other things in meat that can make or break it as a food.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ledow on Sunday November 05 2017, @04:11PM (12 children)

      by ledow (5567) on Sunday November 05 2017, @04:11PM (#592548) Homepage

      Omnivore myself.

      Have honestly NEVER CARED about the fact that meat comes from an animal bred for meat.

      Would still eat this if it were cheap, though. And still eat animals (because no way is it going to taste like a real chicken, have a skin, etc. and no way would they be able to produce every taste and texture of an existing animal that I might want to eat).

      However, I'm much more concerned that perfectly-edible meat, like horse and other animals, strange parts of the animals, etc. goes to waste or to make pet-food because people are squeamish about it. That was always something we did, always something we could continue to do safely, and yet pure fussiness means good food goes to waste.

      But lab-grown meat is going to gain acceptance from those same people? I can't see it.

      Personally, if it makes food cheaper, I'm all for it. "Affording to stay comfortably alive" is a privilege that we take too lightly, let alone "being able to eat almost anything we want", "picking up everything we need to survive in one shop", etc. And you don't need to be starving to benefit from some cheap meat.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Gaaark on Sunday November 05 2017, @04:53PM (9 children)

        by Gaaark (41) on Sunday November 05 2017, @04:53PM (#592559) Journal

        Yeah, i never got the "I'll eat pork and beef, but horse, dog or cat? NEVER!" thing.
        Are horses really better than pigs because we ride them?
        With that logic, i could eat the flesh of guys, but not women.

        I'd try dog and cat: i've eaten mealworms, so i think dog and cat would be much tastier.
        Rat: i'd eat if prepared properly (don't know whether cooking it would destroy any plague they may carry, lol)

        Would like to try haggis, but sooo difficult to hunt in the wild. ;)

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday November 05 2017, @05:24PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 05 2017, @05:24PM (#592574) Homepage Journal

          There's an instructable for that. http://www.instructables.com/id/Haggis-hunting/ [instructables.com] That young huntsman helps to remove most of the difficulty.

          --
          Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday November 05 2017, @05:25PM

          by looorg (578) on Sunday November 05 2017, @05:25PM (#592576)

          Yeah, i never got the "I'll eat pork and beef, but horse, dog or cat? NEVER!" thing.
          Are horses really better than pigs because we ride them?
          With that logic, i could eat the flesh of guys, but not women.
          I'd try dog and cat: i've eaten mealworms, so i think dog and cat would be much tastier.
          Rat: i'd eat if prepared properly (don't know whether cooking it would destroy any plague they may carry, lol)
          Would like to try haggis, but sooo difficult to hunt in the wild. ;)

          Hard to hunt haggis in the wild? It's sheep. They are one of the more stupid animals. They wouldn't be hard to hunt at all. Not sure if there are any large populations of wild sheep around. I can't say anything about the taste either, it's not a very appealing dish in my mind.

          With that said Horse taste great. Dog was nothing special. Never tried cat, worms or rats (as far as I know). I'm not entirely sure about the logic chain, it's not like we don't eat beasts of burden. We have just endowed various animals with cuteness or something and then decided that we won't eat them. Except that we totally would if we had to. It's just a matter of the position on the food chain vs hunger or desire. After all as noted by others if things come down to eat or die then some people will eat other people. I hope I would have to stomach for it.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Air_Force_Flight_571 [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:16PM (#592591)

          It's mostly because cats were essential to protecting our grains against rats and mice. Dogs were mostly around us because they were working for us doing things like helping us track game and scare off predators.

          Other "cute" animals mostly get eaten by people as they have no particular value to us other than as food. Rabbits are a good example, they aren't eaten as often now as they used to be, but they're definitely something that you can put on the menu at a restaurant without people thinking you're weird.

        • (Score: 3, Disagree) by fliptop on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:20PM (5 children)

          by fliptop (1666) on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:20PM (#592613) Journal

          Rat: i'd eat if prepared properly

          Try squirrel, or opossum for that matter. A squirrel is basically a rat that lives in trees. Since they eat only nuts their meat is kind of sweet. If marinated and prepared properly it's pretty good.

          --
          To be oneself, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity
          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:40PM (4 children)

            by Gaaark (41) on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:40PM (#592621) Journal

            I should look up a squirrel trap.....hmmmm....

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
            • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Sunday November 05 2017, @09:41PM

              by fliptop (1666) on Sunday November 05 2017, @09:41PM (#592664) Journal

              I should look up a squirrel trap

              I use a .410 shotgun, but a .22 or even a pellet gun would do the trick.

              --
              To be oneself, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity
            • (Score: 3, Informative) by t-3 on Monday November 06 2017, @02:38AM (2 children)

              by t-3 (4907) on Monday November 06 2017, @02:38AM (#592778) Journal

              Squirrel meat is the number 1 source of bubonic plague in the US, and they can also harbor other nasty diseases. Don't eat rodents unless you have to.

              • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday November 06 2017, @02:57AM

                by Gaaark (41) on Monday November 06 2017, @02:57AM (#592782) Journal

                Awwww... This is why we can't have nice things. Like squirrel nuts roasting on an open fire.

                --
                --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
              • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Monday November 06 2017, @03:00AM

                by fliptop (1666) on Monday November 06 2017, @03:00AM (#592783) Journal

                Squirrel meat is the number 1 source of bubonic plague in the US

                The odds of that are very remote [yahoo.com]. I usually shoot and eat 8-10 squirrels every year and have never had an issue, not even w/ warbles which is much more likely.

                --
                To be oneself, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mhajicek on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:59PM (1 child)

        by mhajicek (51) on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:59PM (#592602)

        "strange parts of the animals, etc."

        Ever eaten a hot dog?

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @06:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @06:01PM (#593202)
          Yes. Some have so much filler the pig could have survived the flesh wound ;).
    • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Monday November 06 2017, @02:32AM

      by t-3 (4907) on Monday November 06 2017, @02:32AM (#592774) Journal

      Meat animals will still be necassary - we've killed off too many of the large herbivores. Plant life has evolved with plant-predators, and many species now depend on them for survival. We might be able to get rid of factory farming, but large animal operations will still be necessary to ensure the health of any ecosystem we attempt to recreate.

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:32PM (4 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:32PM (#592594)

    Anything about the price per unit (kg or that other weird unit non-metric "people" use) of this "clean meat"? Also are we going to have to change the definitions here of what is "meat" and not? Meat is the flesh of animals. If no animals are involved no meat? or?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:11PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:11PM (#592608) Journal

      It's basically not commercially available at all. It's still in the R&D + Silicon Valley / venture capitalist stage.

      The source story has an optimistic estimate: $1 / pound. Compare that to cheap ground beef: $2-3/lb, or cheap chicken: $1-3/lb. Note that most supermarkets mark down older meat, to as much as 50% off, before throwing it away.

      A couple of years ago, it was reported that the cost of making a $325,000 lab grown burger had declined to $11.36 [sciencealert.com] ($80 per kilogram). Now there is obviously some bullshit numeromancy going on there. But it gives you an idea that people are seriously considering the economics of this approach and it is ready to scale.

      This new story is about Cargill's involvement. There was some reticence in the traditional meat industries about lab grown meat, and predictions like "it won't reach consumers for 20 years". That might be set to change. However, even if Memphis Meats hits grocery stores and restaurants by 2021, I wouldn't expect the existing infrastructure to be meat obsolete for at least a decade more, during which time the lab grown meats will become cheaper.

      I don't see a real problem with calling it meat. We should just agree to a simple definition of meat that encompasses both: "meat = a tissue made primarily of muscle cells". Boom, done.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @09:15PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @09:15PM (#592656)

        Whether or not calling it meat is a problem depends a great deal on how accurate the reproduction is. It's got the same nutritional value, taste, texture and the rest of it as regular meat that's not going to be enough. We also have to have some assurance that the process hasn't introduced chemicals into the meat that weren't in meat to begin with.

        But, I think if they manage that, then I have no particular problem with them calling it meat, it would be meat in all practical ways, just with no brain attached at any point.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Sunday November 05 2017, @10:17PM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday November 05 2017, @10:17PM (#592681) Journal

          Like I mentioned in another comment, lab grown meat could certainly enable a cheaper "pink slime". You could throw in any number of chemicals just like is done with traditional meats. And yes, it should be evaluated to make sure it isn't introducing something unexpected during the culturing process. But I see it as capable of also producing meat similar in quality to premium meats, if not better, at a lower cost.

          If you look at the lab grown burger PR event [nytimes.com] from a few years ago, the major complaint from the taste testers was that there was no fat in the burger, which made it dry. They had to cook it in butter to add any sort of fat content. It was just muscle cells with no fat.

          Otherwise, it looked just like a burger, and like a ground beef patty before it was cooked. It's clear that the first plausible application for lab grown meat is extra lean ground beef. The strands of muscle cells that they produced were too short to do anything but make ground beef.

          Supermarkets usually sell 93% lean ground beef. I could see lab grown beef being mixed with a 70% lean "real beef" to hit a number like that. That doesn't achieve the goal of eliminating ALL use of livestock, but it is a quick way to get it onto the market, and something that might be done if lab grown meat defeats cattle on costs.

          As always, skittish consumers could tank this with their hysteria, so I'm sure we will see more PR for the concept. Maybe even some counter-PR from livestock companies that don't want to lose market share.

          Memphis Meats may be further along the path to commercialization than others are, but I haven't heard of any talk yet of throwing bones into the mix. Many meat products contain bones, and bones can be used to make broth, add flavor to beans and stews, etc. Unlike what they have been doing with strands of muscle cells, they may need to... 3D print bones using bone cells? They could take a page from what biomedical science people are doing [sciencemag.org] in this area.

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          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:21PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday November 05 2017, @07:21PM (#592614) Journal

      I'll add that given the nature of the product (no animal suffering, supported philosophically by PETA as well as less rabid animal activists, less environmental impact, potential to be grown without exposure to antibiotics or pesticides), you could see how this might be sold at a premium in the initial years. This could allow it to compete against "organic", "cruelty free", and "cage free" products that can easily be 2-3 times more expensive than their normal counterparts. For example, in a previous story I quoted a price of $6/lb for bulk Costco chicken breasts. Normal chicken breasts cost something closer to $2/lb.

      It also has the potential to allow the creation of meats that would normally be unmarketable or illegal (at least in some contexts, like the amount you can hunt). Penguin, lion, human (HeLameat?), whatever. Once you isolate the cells, you can grow it.

      And if you can mimic marbling, bone scaffolds, and other characteristics needed for advanced cuts, you could imagine the creation of novel meat experiences that don't currently exist. Like beef in the shape/texture/bone structure of a fish filet (IDK - whatever).

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 1) by oakgrove on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:56PM (3 children)

    by oakgrove (5864) on Sunday November 05 2017, @06:56PM (#592601)

    What would be cool is if I could grow some of this stuff at home. Kind of like how I can grow fresh tomatoes if I want. But meat! On a stick of sorts.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @10:53PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @10:53PM (#592698)

    cargill. the monsanto of meats!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @12:55AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @12:55AM (#592731)

      Just what I was going to add -- the reputation of these giant agribusiness companies is not good. Until proven otherwise I'm going to assume they are in it for the money, and not to actually make a good nutritious product.

      First thing to watch for is lobbying to get around truth in labeling laws, so this can be mixed in with normal ground beef (as suggested earlier) with no special markings.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @02:56PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @02:56PM (#593063)

        Thing is, I trust stuff better when the profit motive aligns with what I want because, in that case, I don't have to worry about what they aren't telling me as much.

  • (Score: 2) by lx on Monday November 06 2017, @06:22AM

    by lx (1915) on Monday November 06 2017, @06:22AM (#592891)

    It's all an elaborate front.
    They are turning prisoners into steaks.

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