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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday February 27 2018, @01:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-what's-for-dinner dept.

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.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Aiwendil on Tuesday February 27 2018, @01:46AM (34 children)

    by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @01:46AM (#644370) Journal

    Just label the labgrown as "cultivated meat" - like they did with pearls.

    For the plantbased stuff, I dunno "margimeat"? (think margarine) (would allow for margibeef, maristeak, margiham...)

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Tuesday February 27 2018, @01:48AM (9 children)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday February 27 2018, @01:48AM (#644373) Journal

    "Plantae flesh"

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    • (Score: 3, Touché) by bob_super on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:17AM (7 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:17AM (#644395)

      It's not unded, since it was never alive so: "Construct meat"

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by requerdanos on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:26AM (5 children)

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:26AM (#644399) Journal

        It's not unded, since it was never alive

        I know that defining "life" is not something that science has definitively settled... But plants were never alive?

        I am no scientific expert here. But my Grandmother was a professional florist, and my Dad was a horticulturist.

        In working with and for them during my formative years, I got the strong impressions that plants are alive during the time that they live and grow.

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:37AM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:37AM (#644405)

          There's no scientific consensus that life is important.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:37AM (3 children)

          by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:37AM (#644406)

          I was referring to lab-grown stuff, soon to become industrial-vat-grown stuff.
          Fake meat made out of plants is already called vegetarian patties, soy burger... and I'm sure they will keep inventing fuzzy-sounding names to differentiate from the upcoming frankenmeats.

          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by requerdanos on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:01AM (2 children)

            by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:01AM (#644424) Journal

            I was referring to lab-grown stuff, soon to become industrial-vat-grown stuff.

            oooohhhh! I apologize for my confusion.

            So if the lab-grown stuff was grown, was it not alive while it was growing? Definition of life thing again.

            If it were a bunch of bacteria growing, of course we'd say it it was alive.

            But it's a bunch of cow(/goat/chicken/whatever) cells, definitely not located within a cow(/goat/etc.)... Being cultured, that means growing, must be alive in some since, but definitely not a "live animal?" Just the fact that we use the word "grown" implies life to some degree. I don't have the answer(s).

            Fake meat... soy burger

            I was surprised when the soy people got away with establishing the term "Soy Milk". I guess the meat people don't want a similar thing to happen with "Soy Meat" or "Soymeat."

            Speaking of which, there are some "meat patties [flandersburgers.com]" available that contain fillers like soy [shoprite.com], that are called "beef" on the label. I wonder if those would survive a legal defining of the term "beef".

            • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @10:50AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @10:50AM (#644558)

              Grown implies increase in size, not life. You can grow crystals, planetoids grow by accretion, you can even grow an image size by adjusting lenses.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:47PM

                by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:47PM (#644624)

                Yes, but cells don't grow that way - they only grow substantially when alive, through self-replication

      • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:46AM

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:46AM (#644474) Journal
        It's quite alive.

        I tried to figure out what you think 'alive' means but my processors shut down in protest after only milliseconds.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:45PM (#644622)

      I think leafy meat is better:
      http://dontstarve.wikia.com/wiki/Leafy_Meat [wikia.com]

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by KiloByte on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:05AM (17 children)

    by KiloByte (375) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:05AM (#644387)

    Cultured pearls or "artificial" diamonds are 100% real, and usually better than "natural" ones — same as fridge-made ice is cleaner than one carried from the mountains (ice delivery people bitched about it a century ago...).

    Imitation meat, both plant and current lab-grown, doesn't even resemble actual meat. That's why it's important to ban fraudulent advertising terms, which can be as weaselly as "clean" meat. And even with some significant breakthroughs in cultured "meat", it'd presumably contain so much drugs that I wouldn't want to be as much as in the same room as such a product.

    Antibiotic-laden meat is bad enough.

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    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:40AM (16 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:40AM (#644408) Journal

      it'd presumably contain so much drugs that I wouldn't want to be as much as in the same room as such a product.

      You have no evidence for this assertion.

      I would assert the opposite: substitute live animals eating and pooping in close quarters for relatively sterile laboratory-like conditions, and you have less need for antibiotics. Whatever chemicals you do use in the cultured meat environment could be very carefully tuned. You could also zap the meat with UV or gamma rays at multiple points throughout the process, something you can't really do with a cow. Finally, the amount of time to create a particular unit of meat could be a lot shorter than the life cycle of a cow, meaning less exposure to this and that.

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      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:31AM (10 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:31AM (#644444) Journal

        I would assert the opposite: substitute live animals eating and pooping in close quarters for relatively sterile laboratory-like conditions, and you have less need for antibiotics...

        Addendum necessary "... as long as you spend all the rest of your life in equally sterile laboratory-like conditions yourself".
        Under such conditions, your immune system will be totally out of whack with the "real-world", so either:
        - any microbe will kill you by the means of an immune system not prepare to answer quick enough, so you'll rot alive or bleed through your orifices to your death (or any biodoom horror you want to imagine).
        - you die by overreaction to an otherwise benign protein that you ingested (think anaphylactic shock to cow milk protein)

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        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:37AM (9 children)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:37AM (#644445) Journal

          What? Are we arguing that the "cultured meat" is not prepared for the real world?

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          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:58AM (8 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @03:58AM (#644453) Journal

            I'm arguing that eating mainly (in extreme, exclusively) from "sterile laboratory-like conditions" has the potential to make one unable to eat from natural sources (or even survive in natural environ).

            Context is:

            it'd presumably contain so much drugs that I wouldn't want to be as much as in the same room as such a product.

            I would assert the opposite: substitute live animals eating and pooping in close quarters for relatively sterile laboratory-like conditions, and you have less need for antibiotics.

            Case at point: "needing less antibiotics" doesn't automatically equate with "better fit to the real world env" - you may finish with the need to always carry with you (at least) antihistamine medication in spite of "needing less antibiotics".

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            • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:57AM (5 children)

              by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:57AM (#644485) Journal

              Meat that people pick up from the grocery store (cue Phoenix666 rage) has already been treated and packaged in a way that reduces the amount of bacteria on it:

              http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-04-19/entertainment/9505090003_1_american-meat-institute-foundation-coli-0157-h7 [chicagotribune.com]

              https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm261680.htm [fda.gov]

              https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/packaging-materials/meat-poultry-packaging-materials [usda.gov]

              https://uspackagingandwrapping.com/blog/A-Beginner-s-Guide-to-Meat-Packaging.html [uspackagingandwrapping.com]

              People buy billions of pounds of the stuff. And you know what they do after they buy it? They cook it, further killing bacteria. They do this before they eat it.

              So people are eating cooked meat with very few bacteria on it (unless it has been sitting around at room temperature after being cooked). What should they do next? Eat some dirt to make sure they are training their immune systems?

              Maybe there is an argument to be made that the current way people consume meat has health issues associated with it. But I don't see cultured meat making it any worse.

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              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:37AM (4 children)

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:37AM (#644516) Journal

                But I don't see cultured meat making it any worse.

                "Cultured meat" by itself, no.

                A non-trivial proportion of "cultured meat" in the daily diet may make the things worse.
                Look what happened with highly refined foods to date (prevalent obesity [wikipedia.org] and high incidence diabetes) - any reasons to believe adding some other type of "industrialized food" will make the matter better?

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                • (Score: 2) by Osamabobama on Tuesday February 27 2018, @11:31PM (3 children)

                  by Osamabobama (5842) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @11:31PM (#644868)

                  Cultured yogurt is recommended for better digestion. There's no reason 'cultured' should mean sterile; it could contain whatever is needed for proper nutrition.

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                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 27 2018, @11:45PM (2 children)

                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @11:45PM (#644875) Journal

                    Playing semantics, are you?
                    Wanna bet that "cultured meat" will be sterile?

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                    • (Score: 2) by Osamabobama on Wednesday February 28 2018, @12:17AM (1 child)

                      by Osamabobama (5842) on Wednesday February 28 2018, @12:17AM (#644888)

                      If it's grown with animal cells, then maybe so. But without a circulatory system and all the other baggage that comes with an animal, the construction methods of those cells is open for re-engineering. Maybe the question is settled, but I could imagine a number of processes that rely on bacteria.

                      But more to the point, I will concede that there won't be any known pathogens in the mix.

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                      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Wednesday February 28 2018, @02:06AM

                        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 28 2018, @02:06AM (#644928) Journal

                        Maybe the question is settled, but I could imagine a number of processes that rely on bacteria.

                        High growth rate (to be economically efficient and drive the price down) means pretty aggressive biological activity.
                        High biological activity is correlated with a high spoilage rate.
                        To stop spoilage:
                        1. grow the product to the point of highest appropriateness for human consumption - where the energy/nutritional value is maximum - then...
                        2. sterilize it - if it's fit for human consumption, the microbes (whatever they are: bacteria, molds, fungi, yeasts, etc) will love it too.

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            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:30AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:30AM (#644514)

              has the potential to make one unable to eat from natural sources (or even survive in natural environ).

              As long as you actually live in the real world you're going to be exposed to viruses, bacteria and fungi anyway.

              Humans have been sterilizing and processing their food via cooking for thousands of years if not longer. It's more of which germs your body gets used to. As long as people don't suddenly change their diets and habits there doesn't seem to be a huge difference in surviving in the "real world" between those who eat their steaks and eggs overcooked and those who don't. Just if you go to some new place like Bombay you might need to be careful till your immune system figures stuff out.

              And even if it is an actual issue the sterile meat suppliers can supply the beneficial bacteria too. They could have better control of what bacteria you get in your meat and thus give you a better chance of getting the good bugs while a lower chance of Escherichia coli O157:H7. That way you can enjoy your medium rare steak and burgers with fewer concerns.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 27 2018, @07:02AM

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @07:02AM (#644521) Journal

                As long as people don't suddenly change their diets and habits there doesn't seem to be a huge difference in surviving in the "real world" between those who eat their steaks and eggs overcooked and those who don't.

                That's a strong presumption you put in there.
                If you agree with a definition of "sudden" as "across 15-30 years" - look what happened [tripfitness.com] with the availability/affordability of highly refined food (and the increased price for the fresh products and decreased time available for family/personal life).

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      • (Score: 4, Informative) by qzm on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:33AM (2 children)

        by qzm (3260) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:33AM (#644467)

        You have not thought that through.
        As these vats will have no natural immune system, however they need to keep their developing cells alive, I and it is impossible to make a perfectly sterile system, then it is almost a given that things such as antibiotics will be required.
        If you are hoping for some kind of artisan organic vat meat then you are not thinking this through.
        This will be an industrial chemical and biological process.. With all the associated nasties and risks.

        • (Score: 1) by shrewdsheep on Tuesday February 27 2018, @12:58PM (1 child)

          by shrewdsheep (5215) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27 2018, @12:58PM (#644595)

          It is possible to make a perfectly sterile system. Not that it would be required. Look at the pharmaceutical industry for starters.

          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Reziac on Wednesday February 28 2018, @04:19AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday February 28 2018, @04:19AM (#644966) Homepage

            Yes, but pharmaceuticals are manufactured in lots of at most a few tons, using a lot of relatively-inert components (cellulose fillers, ring carbon compounds, etc) that aren't really food for anything likely to get into the process, while foodstuffs would need to be manufactured in lots of tens of thousands of tons, and the whole bloody thing is biologically attractive to microbes. Sterile workspace is reasonably easy to achieve in small units. It's a whole lot more difficult in large units. In the U.S. alone we eat somewhere around 20 BILLION pounds of meat per annum, and total around a ton of food apiece. That's one hell of a lot of vat space to try to keep sterile.

            Also, pharmaceutical manufacturing has a lot of fails and recalls before it hits retail; some that I'm aware of hit 50%.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Arik on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:43AM (1 child)

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:43AM (#644473) Journal
        "could be...could also...could be"

        Sure, give it a few decades and maybe they'll get to that point, but it's not where things are at now.

        And there's no drawback to accurate labeling. When artificial meat gets to the point that people like it on its merits we'll buy it on its merits.

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        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by KiloByte on Tuesday February 27 2018, @07:24PM

          by KiloByte (375) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @07:24PM (#644745)

          When artificial meat gets to the point that people like it on its merits we'll buy it on its merits.

          You're forgetting about rabid leftist governments. Once artificial meat gets available, no matter how bad it is, you can count on laws banning actual meat (because "cruelty") popping up in all countries where the political pendulum is currently to the left. Meat farmers are no oil, coal or "defense" — so the pendulum swinging to the right won't undo the damage.

          --
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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:48AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @02:48AM (#644415)

    Scientifically Produced Alternative Meat.

    • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:49AM (2 children)

      by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @04:49AM (#644477)

      Slightly Pink Almost Meal

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  • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:13AM (1 child)

    by captain normal (2205) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:13AM (#644508)

    How about Soylent Brown. Or, if that is too unappetizing, Soylent Pink that turns brownish when cooked.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @05:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @05:42PM (#644703)

      Ah yes, good ol' SPTTBWC.