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Can Fake Meat Save the Planet?

Can Fake Meat Save the Planet?

Will “alternative proteins” save the planet? Not so fast.

An opinion piece in Civil Eats makes a convincingly argues that the enthusiasm behind “meatless meat” or “alternative proteins” must be checked, particularly when it comes to arguments regarding their benefit to the planet. According to Patrick Brown, the CEO of Impossible Foods, meat substitutes are “the last chance to save the planet.”

Author Philip Howard writes,

Firstly, the idea that these alternative proteins can save the planet is highly speculative. These claims are based on a narrow assessment of which products can deliver the most protein for the least CO2. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Products like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger source their ingredients from chemical-intensive (and therefore fossil fuel-intensive) monocultures and rely on heavy processing—all of which has major impacts on human health, biodiversity, and climate change.

Additionally, as Rob Verkerk, PhD, founder of ANH-International points out, some livestock farming systems, in particular those that are pasture-based, are already carbon net zero. These operations are worlds away from the concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, that are indeed responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The point is, red meat isn’t the problem, the production system is.

There are also human health issues with lab-grown meat. We reported previously that some companies genetically engineer a compound, heme, that gives the “meat” the impression that it is “bleeding” like real meat. Has genetically engineered “heme” been tested for safety? No. But that hasn’t prevented the FDA from giving the green light in yet another capitulation to Big Food.

Read the full story.

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6 thoughts on “Can Fake Meat Save the Planet?

  • William Zitsch

    You should have mentioned Impossible Foods are the ones using untested GMO’s and not Beyond Meat. Not only would fake meat save the lives of billions of animals every year but would also conserve water which some areas are running out of. Being a vegan for 33 years, the fact that you would even put this on your website means that I am unsubscribing from your emails, BYE!

  • Amanda

    What an irresponsible way to dignify meat consumption and alleviate the consciences of easily persuaded consumers. Seriously? This type of piece smacks of being paid off by agricultural influences. I’m gonna peruse other sites that are empirically citing their evidence. 🙄

  • Madmyc

    The real problem is that animals are sentient beings and they do not want to be enslaved and murdered for our pleasure. There is no such thing as cruelty free slaughter. Lab grown meat can’t come soon enough. Get with the program guy

  • Josephine

    No artificial Meat…
    When you introduce non meat ingredients, you run the risk of allergies. Flavor is obvious for many to reject this. and Finally I do not want someone like Bill Gates to tell me that I have to eat Fake Meat, while he dines on the real deal, because he can afford it, and have the agriculture in his portfolio to raise it for his personal consumption. I’ve been around a long time on this earth to know a “Flim Flam”, when I hear it or see it. Fake Meat will NOT save the planet. You will not convince me otherwise.

  • Tiffany V

    This is true if looking at carbon emissions and the addition of heme. However, billions of animals languishing in brutal conditions of abject terror is not sustainable either. Even those of us who live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley are surrounded by miserable dairy farms and chemically laden chicken and turkey warehouses that smell for days. Not to mention that we consume all their cortisol and other hormones produced when living in such fearful conditions.
    So yes- carbon emissions are not improved by lab-grown meat. And heme is not a bioavailable source of iron, but this is evident in consuming animal products as well. Therefore, the “earth-saving” premise is faulty. But there has to be accountability for the suffering caused by 90% of the animal meat we consume, as well as it’s highly toxic environmental impact.
    It doesn’t seem to be an easy answer for this problem, as consumer demand for “meat” in one form or another continues. Humanely raised animals are a viable meat source for some, but cost prohibitive and unavailable for many more.

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