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Is Lab-Grown Meat About to Take Over the US Food Industry?

By Good Ranchers

October 7th, 2022

It's Happening

Well folks, it looks like the people pushing lab-grown meat are making big moves to help it enter the US food industry. President Joe Biden's executive order last month on biotechnology and biomanufacturing could pave the way for lab-grown beef, chicken, pork, and seafood to be sold commercially in the US. This order could drive federal agencies to sign off on companies looking to sell lab grown meat (AKA products grown from animal’s cells in a bioreactor).

We wouldn’t want our meat cooked in something called a bioreactor, let alone have our meat grown in such a thing. Honestly, eating a steak out of a bioreactor sounds like the origin to a meat themed superhero story… so for that reason and that reason alone we’d take a single bite. It may sound silly, but the support behind these companies is huge. Gourmet, a French startup in this space, just raised 48 million dollars in a Series A funding round to continue making their “lab-grown foie gras”.

It's Serious

While we like to be lighthearted and fun in our blogs, this is a serious problem. There are many health concerns around the process and methods used to make this synthetic meat that may be overlooked if it is pushed through the process by lobbying and executive orders. The manipulation of cells to grow and reproduce in unnatural environments could require practices that put dangerous things into the lab-grown meat.

The Center For Food Safety says a “particular concern” around lab based meat is “the genetic engineering of cells and their potential cancer-promoting properties”. Turns out, when you make cells replicate in unnatural conditions it could cause cancerous cells to form and multiply. The means by which companies are doing this is not disclosed and oftentimes claimed to be a business “secret”, which means we know almost nothing about what goes into this fake meat.

It's Cruel

Another horrible detail of this process is how cruel it is to animals. The lab-grown companies claim to eliminate animal cruelty from the meat industry, but their practices are in reality far more gruesome than you can imagine. A majority of lab-grown meat requires FBS (Fetal Bovine Serum), which as the name implies, is harvested from a developing cow fetus - a baby cow. It gets worse, FBS is harvested after the mother cow is slaughtered - usually a dairy cow since they are almost always pregnant for milk production. The baby cow is kept alive to extract healthier blood from it. A needle is inserted into its heart and blood is extracted until the young cow dies, which is often 5 minutes later. This practice is detestable and increases the suffering of all animals included.

It's Not Real Meat

This fetal serum is the backbone for cell growth in the synthetic meat making process. Though cells naturally want to die when they realize they’re in the wrong place, the FBS labs use along with other growth additives tricks cells into believing they’re in the right place. There quite literally could not be a more unnatural way to grow cells, yet all lab-grown meat is formed in this very way.

If the taste of lab grown meat doesn’t make you sick, the way it’s made will. It’s unnatural, it’s inhumane to the highest degree, and it has potential dangers no one is addressing. Cattleman associations across this country and the world are upset that this is gaining traction, and we are too. Real meat is not the problem as so many will claim. Real meat is the solution. What is grown in a lab will never be what we can grow in a field. The care, the love, and the people that make up our agricultural system in the United States cannot be replicated in a petri dish. The truth is that real quality cannot be made in a bioreactor. America’s best meat will always come from America’s best farms.

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