Food From Thought: June 2022
The debate over what to call meat made from animal cells grows, Abbot’s Butcher has expanded national distribution to Target, and Meati launches its first alternative protein steak.
Is it cultivated meat? Cell-based meat? Cell-cultured meat? Clean meat? Not meat at all? It’s been called all of these at some point, but what the final terminology should be depends on who you ask — according to the compilation of input following the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) comment period on the subject.
The FSIS asked for opinions on how meat made from animal cells should be labeled, and received a deluge of responses.
Comments came in from all over and included companies, industry groups, foreign and state governments, trade groups, consumer groups, public officials, private individuals, as well as Miyoko Schinner from Miyoko’s Creamery.
Included were perspectives from conventional meat industries as well as those working on the future of meat via cellular technology. As you can imagine, conventional players look to block all attempts to call these new products “meat” at all — which is quite reminiscent of the debate around whether plant-based milk should be called milk.
Regardless of what it is called for now, the fact is that it doesn’t really matter — because meat made from animal cells isn’t going away anytime soon. With around 170 companies currently working on the technology, and plans in place to increase bioreactors and boost production efficiency, cellular agriculture continues to pave its way forward despite the obstacles.
It’s been hard to imagine anything different from the traditional large-scale animal and seafood farms we’ve known for decades. But now it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be an alternative — and one that’s free from animals, no less.
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