ANIMAL-FREE FOOD REVOLUTION: AN END TO FACTORY FARMS?
By Dr. Michael W. Fox
There are some legitimate questions concerning consumer safety and environmental risks of genetically engineered foods which I have raised as per my book Killer Foods: When Scientists Manipulate Genes, Better is Not Always Best (The Lyons Press, 2004). Describing the development as “a food revolution,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared lab-grown chicken meat developed by Berkeley, California-based food-tech firm Upside Foods to be safe for human consumption. But there are many questions remaining to be answered as detailed by Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D.in his review posted at https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/lab-grown-chicken-meat-fda-safety/?utm_source=salsa&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=94e06a43-2462-4d89-88af-afbe884172eb
Reboot Food’s Manifesto was presented on Nov 17th, 2022 at the COP27 climate crisis conference in Egypt. “ It is a campaign of the citizen-led green group RePlanet. to phase out animal agriculture for new sustainable alternatives, see the farming of plants revolutionized to use less land and fewer chemicals and see our planet re-wilded as a result. Thanks to breakthroughs in the tried and tested technique of precision fermentation used to brew yeasts and bacteria into plant-based and animal-free proteins, ( used widely to produce animal-free rennet and insulin), food innovators have now applied genetic engineering biotechnology to create animal-free proteins and fats that are biologically identical (and just as delicious) as those we currently get from poultry, fish, pigs and cattle. This appropriate use of biotechnology needs government and private investor support and the urgency of its adoption cannot be overstated as a major remedy for climate change, loss of biodiversity along with the end of suffering of billions of animals and their slaughter and dramatic reduction in diseases they can spread to humans and wildlife. For more details and to become involved go to Home | Reboot Food.”
Philip Steir, head of Alternative Proteins at Earth Animal based in Southport Connecticut writes to me that the Better Meat Company’s Rhiza and many other companies are now creating meat from fermentation and mycelium: And that one company (https://www.wildtypefoods.com) is growing real salmon meat from cells and has already partnered with famous sushi chefs and dozens of sushi restaurants. They are await FDA approval. Good Meat Co https://www.goodmeat.co is building the biggest cultivated meat facilities in three locations. Oakland/Alameda, Singapore, and the largest in Qatar…..Good Meat is the only company approved to sell (in Singapore) ….but they are also in talks with federal agencies here in the U.S.. Also see https://missionbarns.com producing a mix of cultivated pork fat and plant-based proteins while the pig all their bacon comes from is alive and well and living on an animal sanctuary in Sonoma!
Philip tells me most of the companies he knows that are founded by vegans and animal advocates including Upside Foods are not using fetal bovine serum which is one concern some critics have raised. For details go to https://upsidefoods.com/animal-component-free-upsides-cell-feed-breakthrough-levels-up-the-future-of-cultivated-meat/ https://www.fastcompany.com/90808821/the-meat-you-already-eat-is-fake https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/fda-approved-lab-grown-meat-is-better-than-factory-farmed-meat-rcna57992
He states unequivocally “The positive scope of cultivated meat to me is extensive…and has the ability to address environmental concerns that comes with conventional meat. The promising future will be that cultivated meat consumes far less energy, land, and water. It is cruelty-slaughter-free and environmentally so much better.
Additionally, this cultured cell-based meat is produced in a highly controlled environment which can protect the meat from microbes and contamination. E. coli, Salmonella, Lysteria, Campylobacter are intestinal pathogens that cause illnesses every year and are a concern for meat-eaters. As there are no intestinal organs in the lab-grown meat, there cannot be contamination during slaughter. It’s also meat that is free from the growth hormones and as you know vaccines that are often injected into farm animals.
The other big advantage is that this ethically pure meat takes out the killing off of wildlife to protect livestock….and the possibility of zoonotic diseases spreading. Livestock grown in confined spaces are susceptible to outbreaks such as influenza. This cultured meat is safe from these zoonotic diseases plaguing the animals and the antibiotics that are given to them. In addition to protecting wildlife, being antibiotic-free and safe from zoonotic diseases, cultured meat has so many benefits…..the biggest one for me is that no animals need to be raised and slaughtered.”
I agree with these assertions and excellent synopsis, and see this alternative food biotechnology as a significant step to ending farm animal factories and helping reduce our carbon footprint, climate change and loss of biodiversity—and improving our health and welfare of animals in the process.
This is part of the mission of The Production Board, David Friedberg CEO. ( an animal rights advocate) and associated companies like Clara Foods™ Clara Foods, now changed and rebranded as The Every Company (https://theeverycompany.com) is working towards creating the world’s first animal-free egg white and a slew of other performance protein products for sports nutrition, baking, and industrial uses.
It is notable that Canadian meat giant Maple Leaf Foods has teamed with California’s The Better Meat Co. to co-create next-level mycelium meats. https://vegnews.com/2022/12/maple-leaf-better-vegan-meat-fungi
While vegan burger and sausage manufacturers such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods rely on soy and pea proteins, and Quorn Co. the first to utilize fungal mycelium, venture funding is stimulating innovations in animal cell culture in bioreactors. For instance, San Francisco-based Wildtype will grow salmon stem cells in bioreactors then transfer to 3-D plant-derived scaffolds to recreate the natural texture of fish. Such innovations will take time to reach the market but could do much to quell the harmful consequences of over-fishing and depletion of ocean life, and inhumane intensive salmon fish farms including soon to be FDA approved genetically engineered salmon. ( For details see www.fishfeel.org).
There is also a company using fungal mycelium to create a durable substitute for animal leather. For details and where to purchase anything from alternative “leather” shoes and clothing to purses and wallets, go to Our Products – MycoWorks https://www.mycoworks.com › our-products
Recapturing the powers, magical and biochemical, qualities and gifts of the fungal kingdom and the vital roles they play in forest and other ecosystems through recycling transference of the dead into life; communications and symbiotic relations with the trees that cannot thrive without them, along with the bees and other insects who pollinate and the birds who regulate insect proliferations, helping keep forests, the lungs of the Earth, healthy, may put us on the path of empathic scientific redemption, self-healing and planetary restoration.
Since people can become sick from fungal spores in mold-contaminated, Climate Change flooded homes and others suffer from arid and disturbed-by real estate lands that release another airborne fungus, (Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis, or cocci is caused by the soil-dwelling fungus, Coccidioides immitis), it is evident that this life kingdom we must engage with caution! Pythium insidiosum is an aquatic fungus-like pathogen that causes granulomatous disease (or swamp cancer) in animals such as horses, cattle, dogs, and cats and can infect humans. All are more prone with the increase in Climate Change flooding and large expanses of warm standing water where this fungus multiples.
While Moonshine makers and other alcohol fermenters seek sugar for their fungi, it is no coincidence that high-sugar- content diets foster the fungal infection of Candida albicans, which is widespread, some patients testing positive for alcohol production by this fermenting organism in their bodies! Sugar is implicated in diabetes Type 11 and now also nitrates in preserved meats and hot dogs.
The White Nose fungal disease decimating bats whose ecological services to control harmful insects we must not lose is anthropogenic in origin, caused by logging forests that disturb and destroy their roosts and from starvation because insects are declining as a result of pesticides, many of which make the insects toxic to the bats. For similar reasons fungal infections are wiping out frog, lizard and other reptilian and amphibian insectivore species.
Mycotoxins can kill while other fungal mycoproteins and other chemical components can heal, as promoted by some holistic veterinarians, notably my old friend Dr. Robert Silver. ( Real Mushrooms for Pets www.realmushrooms.com Well-Pet Dispensary www.wellpetdispensary.com ). The role of fungi in helping us create safe and near-zero carbon emission foods, meat, fish, dairy and egg substitutes, is indeed most promising and their safe use in baking and brewing confirmed for centuries.