Will lab-grown meat really ‘save the planet’?
Animal cell-based meat (ACBM), or ‘cultured meat’, is being pushed as a ‘viable environmentally conscious replacement’ for livestock production, however, a new study by a group of researchers has suggested it may not be as ‘green’ after all.
Cultured meat, or lab-grown meat as we call it, is produced by cultivating animal cells, but scientists at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California say it is worse for the climate than real beef.
The detailed analysis was published in a new study published on the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory bioRxiv website.
The researchers say the carbon footprint of lab-grown meat could be “orders of magnitude higher” once the industry grows.
To-date, no large-scale life cycle assessment for the current production methods of ACBM had been conducted.
“Our environmental assessment is grounded in the most detailed process systems available that represent current state-of-the-art in this emerging food technology sector.”
ACBM could be as worse as 25 times higher than current beef production impacts, say the researchers.
The paper has copped criticism from the scientific elite, however.
“Several key assumptions in the UC Davis study do not align with the current or expected practices for sourcing and purification of cell culture media ingredients,” says the Good Food Institute, stressing that the paper has not yet been peer-reviewed.
But, beyond this, the authors also highlighted problems with the existing body of work in the field:
“The existing LCAs of ACBM are insufficient for assessing the environmental impact of this emerging food technology. The main issue with these pre-existing studies is that their technology models do not accurately reflect the current/near term practices which will be utilized to produce these products,” conclusion the researchers.
“Our model generally contradicts these previous studies by suggesting that the environmental impact of cultured meat is likely to be higher than conventional beef systems, as opposed to more environmentally friendly.
This is an important conclusion given that investment dollars have specifically been allocated to this sector with the thesis that this product will be more environmentally friendly than beef.”
We have seen this many times before, particularly with new technologies like 5G that rely on studies taken 20+ years ago or don’t even attempt to address the impacts from a full-scope perspective.
It seems those in the lab-grown meat industry are quick to attack this new assessment, because there is much on the line here.
The synthetic meat industry is heating up as we continue our path towards Agenda 2030, where the transformation of our food industries will be a key step in this transition.
Lab-grown meat is different from plant-based ‘meat’, which is not meat at all, but uses vegan ingredients such as vegetable protein to replicate the look and taste of real meat.
The process can be done with multiple types of animal cell to create an approximation of the real thing, whether it’s chicken, pork or beef.
Taking beef as an example, scientists use a cow’s stem cells – the building blocks of muscle and other organs – to begin the process of creating the cultured meat.
Cultured meat is generally seen as ‘more ethical’ than real meat because it requires a sample of body tissue, rather than the death of the animal, although many vegans and vegetarians will still not touch it because it is made of animal.
They see this as a ‘middle-ground’ to win over the meat-eaters.
But, as we all know, there won’t be any choice in the matter.
Although lab-grown meat is yet to hit the shops, British scientists are among those growing meat products in a lab with a view to commercialise them in the near future.
Just recently, the technologies underpinning this push have advanced, allowed for the mad scientists to rival industrial production levels with the use of GM fruit flies as “biofactories”.
Of course, our main man Bill Gates is one of the major funders behind this ‘revolution’, suggesting in 2021 that all “rich nations” should shift entirely to synthetic beef methods.
All it will take is the right ‘crisis’ to the food supply chain for this ‘solution’ to be welcomed with open arms.
But I’m just a ‘conspiracy theorist’, after all, so what do I know.
Perhaps this study will be soon labelled as ‘misinformation’ and buried to the annuals of time, but for the moment, this is yet another key piece of evidence that blows the lid on this transformation as a move to ‘save the planet’.
It is all about control; to have all societies eating bugs and lab-grown meat so the process is completely controlled.
Then, in truly Orwellian fashion, we will say: ‘It tastes like meat, smells like meat.. just isn’t real meat!’.
The support of our farmers is needed more than ever right now.
Makes sure you connect to one and buy directly from him, or at the least, from a butcher that supplies from one.
It will take the people to make sure this dystopian vision remains just as it is.
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