The New World of ‘Alternative’ Meats

Posted by: Ellen Schuster, BA, MS on Monday, June 11, 2018

The New World of ‘Alternative’ Meats

Article originally appears in the June 7, 2018 issue of the SNEB eCommunicator

If you’re not familiar with alternative meats it’s time! After all, White Castle recently offered one - the Impossible Burger - this past April at some locations. Before starting, here are a few terms...

**Cellular agriculture - producing agriculture products from cells in a lab
**Lab-grown meat/clean meat/cultured meat - meat produced from animal cells ‘grown’ in a lab

Background/major ‘players’ in the field
**History of the veggie burger - an interesting look at the ‘original’ alternative meat
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/history-veggie-burger-180950163/

**Clean meat: how growing meat without animals will revolutionize dinner and the world by Paul Shapiro (2018) - a new book 
Here’s one review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paul-shapiro/clean-meat/

 **Lab-grown meat (Hungry for Food Science podcast - 20 minutes)
Detailed description of the process of lab-grown meat - @ http://hungryforfoodscience.com/blog/ get more information. Pros and cons include the impact of lab-grown meat could have on the incomes of poor people in ag-dependent countries.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lab-grown-meat-2/id1393094055?i=1000412762802&mt=2

**Lab-grown meat is coming, but will you try it? (KALW, City Visions, 59 min)
Detailed discussion/call-in - one of the guests is the author of the new book, ‘Clean Meat’ (see above).
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/city-visions-lab-grown-meat-is-coming-but-will-you-try-it/id287700432?i=1000408559238&mt=2

**The ‘who’s who’ and ‘what’s what’ of cultured meat
How the process works, some companies involved and two registered dietitians offer their views.
http://www.todaysdietitian.com/news/exclusive0217.shtml

**Lab-grown meat: challenges and benefits of cellular agriculture
An in-depth look at issues around cellular agriculture including cost, decreasing the risk of some food-borne illnesses, reducing the need for pesticides and ethics.
https://foodandnutrition.org/march-april-2017/lab-grown-meat-exploring-potential-benefits-challenges-cellular-agriculture/

**The Petri dish platter (Scientific American infographic)
The process of cellular agriculture in infographic form
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/files/2013/08/MeatLabWebVert.jpg

**Plant-based meat (Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, Memphis Meats and more!)
https://www.digitaltrends.com/features/the-future-of-food-meat-alternatives/

**Let it bleed (humanely): we taste the vegan “Impossible Burger” and “Beyond” Burgers
In-depth review of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat including...the aroma of the raw Beyond Burger (hint: not good!)
https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/10/beyond-burger-impossible-burger-vegan-taste-test.html

Availability

**Beyond Meat @ Whole Foods
Beyond Meat is made of pea protein and beet pulp and debuted @ Whole Foods in 2016
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/next-gen-veggie-burger-fake-blood-and-all-debut-supermarket-180959220/

**Beyond Meat debuts @ Kroger 
As of July 2017, Beyond Meat was in 350 Whole Foods, 280 Safeways, 8 out of 101 BurgerFi’s and the roll-out in Kroger’s includes stores in 13 states. This article also includes a review.
http://www.businessinsider.com/review-beyond-meat-veggie-burger-bill-gates-2017-7

**The Impossible Burger, a veggie burger made from wheat, potatoes and other ingredients, debuted at White Castle in April 2018 at some locations in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. The verdict? The article @ http://www.grubstreet.com/2018/04/reviews-for-white-castle-impossible-sliders.html shares some pics and reviews.

Safety

**How do you know your lab-grown burger is safe to eat?
Good question...the government lags behind regulatory needs.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602244/how-do-you-know-your-lab-grown-burger-is-safe-to-eat/

**FDA safety concerns
In-depth look at food safety concerns and the Impossible Burger.
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/08/21/impossible-burger-meat-substitute.aspx

**Safety of lab meat
More on food safety specifically GMO concerns and concerns about heme.
http://www.businessinsider.com/veggie-burger-tastes-like-meat-impossible-foods-snag-gmo-heme-health-2018-3

**Dr. Marion Nestle weighs in and shares the ingredient lists for the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger
https://www.foodpolitics.com/2018/05/plant-based-meat-the-cosmetic-color-problem/

Laws

**FSIS comment period regarding ‘clean meat’ labeling ended May 17, 2018 but here’s more about it.
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/05/fsis-extends-comment-period-on-petition-on-beef-and-meat-labeling-requirements/#.WxLNP4opChA

**Missouri bill would prohibit ‘meat’ label on lab-grown meat
https://www.fooddive.com/news/missouri-bill-would-prohibit-meat-label-on-lab-grown-or-plant-based-alter/521139/

**One ranking member of a sub-committee call’s for GAO review of regulations around lab-grown meats
https://www.drovers.com/article/gao-where-are-regulations-alt-meat

Cost

After searching online in early June 2018, I found 1 San Francisco restaurant selling the Impossible Burger for $16. The White Castle slider was priced at $1.99. Beyond Burger sells four 2-ounce patties for $5.99 (almost twice the cost of beef/ounce).