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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 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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