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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: 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.

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

    by shrewdsheep (5215) 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%.

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.