So how, exactly, does one create identical substitutes for the animal products so many Americans crave sans the greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation, or animal suffering?
Cellular and acellular agriculture—that’s how.
The science behind “clean” (i.e., cultured) meat, dairy, and eggs can seem a bit daunting from the outside. To help us all stay in the know, Erin Kim of New Harvest put together a cheat sheet for AgFunder News. You can read the full story here.
We’ll break it down for you.
1. Cellular Production
Rather than growing fat and muscle tissue on live (and often crowded and filthy) animals, cellular agriculture allows these cells to be cultured outside of an animal in a clean setting with just a small starter sample. For beef, this means that creating a burger requires only a small tissue sample from a cow, sidestepping the need for slaughter.
As a result, we get pure meat, with no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no E. coli or salmonella, and no waste contamination—all of which come standard in conventional meat production. This is the science already used in the medical field to grow organs applied in a brand-new way.
Dr. Mark Post of Mosa Meats was the first to produce a clean meat hamburger using cellular agriculture, proving that it is possible to create meat-identical products without the tremendous environmental repercussions of conventional animal agriculture.
Next, we have—
2. Acellular Production
Acellular production is the method used to make products like animal-free eggs, gelatin, and milk. It’s the same process that has been used to obtain insulin for years and is remarkably similar to brewing beer. As Kim explains, acellular production is when “cells or microbes (like yeast or bacteria) are used not to form the basis of the products themselves, but rather as a ‘factory’ to produce fats and/or proteins, like eggs and milk.” These products need absolutely no animal inputs to render delicious results, and they’re extremely close to hitting grocery store shelves.
Clara Foods has already created egg white protein without chickens, and Perfect Day Foods has created milk without cows. These scientific advancements to food production provide all of the necessary tools to create an economy totally free of conventional animal agriculture.
Right now, the animal products we buy at the grocery store are filled with antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, and additives. They come from massive waste-filled factory farms and animals who have been genetically manipulated. Clean alternatives from cellular and acellular agriculture create the same products with none of these downsides, which is an absolutely thrilling idea for anyone interested in global health or environmental sustainability.
To learn more about The Good Food Institute’s support for these exciting food science developments, visit our website.