An argument for funding research into Cultured Meat
An open letter to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee
Rarely in our history have we had an opportunity to significantly change the food chain for the better. The war on pathogens conducted by FSIS and the FDA made a huge difference. Global transportation networks, HACCP and advances in digitally tracking refrigerated produce proliferate as does the use of science for land management and genetic restructuring of crops. The introduction of plant-based consumables in the fast-food arena is a great step forward. What’s not to like about Impossible Burger?
On the horizon however, is the possibility of Cultured Meats (in Vitro-Cultured Meat Production). I am writing to encourage awareness, knowledge, and credibility for this endeavor. The introduction of Cultured Meats at scale will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide for safer water supplies near Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), allow some to retreat from agribusiness back to the family farm and mean fewer slaughterhouses where pathogens in our food chain continue to proliferate. Lab-grown food eliminates the need for antibiotics in the food chain, sidesteps dozens of pathogens and above all, promises to generate valuable protein in areas of the world that cannot, for many reasons, sustain livestock.
As with the green energy transition, the U.S. lags behind in researching the commercial viability of cultured meats. What will be required is the reduction of cost for growth mediums used in manufacturing that can only come at scale. The availability of advanced bioreactor. Read about this technology here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12596643/. Some believe the Netherlands is a leader in commercialization, but I suspect their advances are minimal compared with what we could do as a nation if we invested: https://www.feednavigator.com/Article/2020/01/09/Nutreco-gets-behind-Dutch-cultured-meat-pioneer
I suspect that as a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee you are well aware of tissue engineering and in vitro-meat discussions, so I apologize if this is all old information. For me, the links below were very informative.
On Oct. 23-24, 2018, FSIS and FDA held a joint public meeting to discuss the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry. To view the recorded webinar from the public meeting on the FSIS website go here:
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/past-meetings. To view the Formal Agreement, visit the FSIS website at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/formalagreement.
An article linking these new possibilities to poverty
Lab-Grown Meat For a Safer and Healthier World
Another article articulating where science and business is in development.
Out of the lab and into your frying pan: the advance of cultured meat
Scholarly information and access to experts:
Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat Production
Hanna L. Tuomisto and M. Joost Teixeira de Mattos
“… In comparison to conventionally produced European meat, cultured meat involves approximately 7–45% lower energy use (only poultry has lower energy use), 78–96% lower GHG emissions, 99% lower land use, and 82–96% lower water use depending on the product compared. Despite high uncertainty, it is concluded that the overall environmental impacts of cultured meat production are substantially lower than those of conventionally produced meat.
Read the abstract: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es200130u
Download the PDF: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es200130u
Commentary on In Vitro-met Production
Tissue EngineeringVol. 11, No. 5-6