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Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Bill Gates and Richard Branson Back Startup That Grows 'Clean Meat' (bloomberg.com) 243

A large global agricultural company has joined Bill Gates and Richard Branson to invest in a nascent technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells. "Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup's website," reports Bloomberg. From the report: This is the latest move by an agricultural giant to respond to consumers, especially Millennials, who are rapidly leaving their mark on the U.S. food world. That's happening through surging demand for organic products, increasing focus on food that's considered sustainable and greater attention on animal treatment. Big poultry and livestock processors have started to take up alternatives to traditional meat. To date, Memphis Meats has raised $22 million, signaling a commitment to the "clean-meat movement," the company said.
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Bill Gates and Richard Branson Back Startup That Grows 'Clean Meat'

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  • "clean" "meat" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KiloByte ( 825081 )

    Can we please have some labelling laws so this thing can't be legally called "meat"?

    There's enough problems with processed food already. Here we have a processed thing that did not even start from being food.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      But millennials and stuff don't you know.... they hate big-cow and big-chicken and big-pig and want clean organic vat meat. So you just stop it with your "labels" and your anti-vat meat anxiety because Bloomberg says that millennials have decided what they will and won't tolerate you eating.

      Vat-to-table, pal.

      • But millennials and stuff don't you know.... they hate big-cow and big-chicken and big-pig and want clean organic vat meat. So you just stop it with your "labels" and your anti-vat meat anxiety because Bloomberg says that millennials have decided what they will and won't tolerate you eating.

        Yeah yeah look traditionalists, when you harvest and skin all of the meat you eat, killing it with tools you made yourself, cooking it over an open firem and wear it's skins while you gather nuts and berries, then come back and act all paleolithic on us.

        • Yeah yeah look eco-authoritarian, when you harvest and clean all of the fruits and vegetables you eat, planting it and harvesting it with tools you made yourself, cooking and canning it over an open fire and wear it's skins while you gather nuts and berries, then come back and act all vegan on us.

          That garbage works both ways. I did have the decency to fix your spelling error with "fire" too.

          • Yeah yeah look eco-authoritarian, when you harvest and clean all of the fruits and vegetables you eat, planting it and harvesting it with tools you made yourself, cooking and canning it over an open fire and wear it's skins while you gather nuts and berries, then come back and act all vegan on us.

            That garbage works both ways. I did have the decency to fix your spelling error with "fire" too.

            Eco-authoritarian?

            • by s.petry ( 762400 )
              Replace it with veganazi, or what ever you prefer. I tried to be a bit more generic since so many people bitch for so many reasons.
        • I qualify for a lot of that, actually. I don't make my own tools. There are more efficient means.

          Given that I personally clean the vast majority if my meat, I'm pretty sure it is clean meat. This year, I even got my moose permit. It will be tasty.

    • Re:"clean" "meat" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @09:36PM (#55073227)
      I would imagine that they'll label it in some way just because I can't imagine vegetarians or vegans objecting to eating it. Otherwise if it's molecularly the same, who cares if it came from a factory where it was grown artificially or if some critter carried it around before having it shorn off. As long as it still tastes good (some meat isn't just the muscle, but also the intramuscular fat) I'll eat it. If it eventually means I can get a great cut of steak for $2 at the market because this is cheaper than feeding an actual cow, I think it would go a long way towards being able to supply more of the world with protein.
      • I would imagine that they'll label it in some way just because I can't imagine vegetarians or vegans objecting to eating it. Otherwise if it's molecularly the same, who cares if it came from a factory where it was grown artificially or if some critter carried it around before having it shorn off.

        I certainly agree, but we have a world full of anti-vaxxers, anti anything but unmanipulated original veggies, anti-science, and flat earthers.

        I'm a dedicated omnivore (because it is the natural state of humans) but would be very happy to eat synthetic meat.

        Imagine, we could eat rare animals, or hybrid meat. Some donations would be all that is needed. We wouldn't have to be worried about maltreatment of food animals, or alomst killing off an entire species of food. I'm pretty certain that the meat even

        • Imagine, we could eat rare animals, or hybrid meat.

          For the adventurous, I can see it going farther than that: "long pig" and from specific celebrities. Fans will pay a premium for Mark Wahlberg filet mignon.

          • by Chaset ( 552418 )

            It's interesting that I had an "ew" reaction to that, even though logically, there is nothing physiologically/chemically "bad" about eating lab grown meat based on human DNA. (assuming basic food safety issues are taken care of.)

            I wonder where that comes from, evolutionary/instinct-wise.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          I certainly agree, but we have a world full of anti-vaxxers, anti anything but unmanipulated original veggies, anti-science, and flat earthers.

          Sadly true, but I feel we should be giving them the attention they deserve. None at all.

      • ... I can't imagine vegetarians or vegans objecting to eating it.

        I think it is merely a popular misconception, that vegetarians et al avoid meat simply because they object to the slaughter of animals and feel they have eat vegetables as a sort of penance. Maybe there are some of that kind - otherwise there wouldn't be a market for all those horrible meat-imitations. Personally, though, I tend to eat vegetables because I like them more than meat - the taste, the texture, the fact that I don't feel as if I had eaten a bowl of cement after eating etc. - and I think I have

        • I find meat tastes about the same no matter how it is prepared [...] but vegetables are so varied - if you know how to cook them and especially when to stop cooking.

          Same is true for meat. Of course, if "burned to perfection" is the only way you know how to grill your meat, it will all taste like a piece of leather pasted in whatever marinade you use.

      • I would imagine that they'll label it in some way just because I can't imagine vegetarians or vegans objecting to eating it.

        You must be new to this planet. Of course some of them, maybe even most of them, are going to object to this. People who are vegetarian for religious reasons (ie. Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) may not object to it. The main religious objection is that meat comes from killing a creature with a soul and you incur a karmic debt by participating in the killing it took to get you the animal flesh. This doesn't mean you can't find people with religious beliefs that oppose eating animal flesh that will do so anyway

      • by 93,000 ( 150453 )

        I can't imagine you'll be paying anything less than a $5/pound premium on the lab grown stuff. If I had to be on anything about this, it's that it isn't going to be cheap.

      • "I would imagine that they'll label it in some way just because I can't imagine vegetarians or vegans objecting to eating it."

        Vegetarian here (almost vegan but very difficult to get rid of all dairy although I'm trying) and I won't eat this. I don't object to it on principle since it doesn't require an animal to die, but I won't eat it because meat just isn't something I want to eat regardless of source. If you've not eaten meat for any length of time, going back is hard because it actually doesn't taste th

      • I would imagine that they'll label it in some way just because I can't imagine vegetarians or vegans objecting to eating it.

        You don't know many vegetarians or vegans do you? To rephrase a joke - how do you know if someone is a vegan. Don't worry, if they are they will tell you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, because it will be chemically indistinguishable from the meat you get from slaughtering an animal. This isn't some soy based substitute, it is actual meat.

      You can have "not actual cow" on the labelling if you like, but it's still meat.

      • No, because it will be chemically indistinguishable from the meat you get from slaughtering an animal.

        So lemme give you a small sack of sand, with a few grains of gold and many other trace metals, and toss in a lump of partially rusted iron -- while I get a computer. They are chemically indistinguishable from each other, you see.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
          Jesus. It's embarrassing that you think that's a good analogy.
          • Jesus. It's embarrassing that you think that's a good analogy.

            It's a better analogy than you clearly recognize. Those components have to go through a process which literally filters out the undesirable parts, and there is testing at every step of the way. Nature also has something analogous to a test procedure; if the process goes wrong, there are numerous points at which it will abend. Neither process is foolproof; the point the GP was trying to make (with an admittedly ridiculous example) is that not all arrangements of the same constituents are satisfactory. The po

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Can we please have some labelling laws so this thing can't be legally called "meat"?

      Good luck with that. With process cheese not containing cheese, marshmallows not containing any marshmallow, "beer" being rice brews, and perhaps worst of all, "real mayonnaise" neither being real nor mayonnaise, I am fairly certain that this will be called meat.
      Which is why you go to a butcher when you want meat.

      • Good luck with that. With process cheese not containing cheese,

        Negative, there are specific standards that process chees has to adhere to specific composition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] . From the page: These products tend to be classified as cheese food, "cheese spread", or "cheese product", depending on the amount of cheese, moisture, and milkfat present in the final product.

        marshmallows not containing any marshmallow,

        "Pâte de guimauve", the French confection that was originally made from the Marsh Mallow plant, was changed to a gelatin/sugar/starch mixture a long long time ago. And the fact that

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
          The sad part is that anyone thinks 'natural' is an adjective of much relevance. Our natural state is eking out a miserable, parasite-ridden existence for three or four decades. Everything better than that comes to us from artificiality.
          • The sad part is that anyone thinks 'natural' is an adjective of much relevance. Our natural state is eking out a miserable, parasite-ridden existence for three or four decades. Everything better than that comes to us from artificiality.

            Natives of the west coast and the northwestern USA regularly lived to be over a hundred years old, in societies which lasted over ten thousand years that we know of so far. (The estimates keep creeping upwards, last I heard they were looking at fourteen thousand.) And they weren't even parasite-ridden, because they didn't practice animal husbandry. They didn't have to, because they did practice land management. They ignited yearly controlled burns to keep the understory clear, and they had clear agreements

            • Here in Lake county, CA, homesteaders were paid a dollar a tree to plant black walnuts, in a campaign designed to displace oaks. The walnuts have literally never been a notable economic benefit to the region, as pears and grapes have been, but they are a benefit if your strategy is to permanently destroy a way of life. You can live on acorns alone, but you can't live on walnuts.

              Was driving out the oaks just because acorns could support subsistence, or was there some other reason to replace them?

              • Was driving out the oaks just because acorns could support subsistence, or was there some other reason to replace them?

                The alleged reason was that they would be economically beneficial, but there was no evidence even at the time that this was true. The only people who ever made any money worth mentioning grafted other species onto black walnut stumps, and even that was never much. This region used to be known for cattle, and then it was known for pears, and then it was known for the night life (briefly) and now it's known for hicks in sticks, and being part of the increasingly-misnamed emerald triangle.

        • by Whibla ( 210729 )

          And i'm suspecting that this synthetic meat can be processed organically.

          While I accept that definitions vary the first one I can across for "organic food" was:

          Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.

          I'm sure you don't think that vat grown meat can be produced without man-made growth regulators, but I'm not sure what th

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          Oh hell, which type of "real Mayonnaise" are you talking about? There are so many types made in so many countries and the recipe has changed over time just like everything else, and some of the changes are pretty helpful, like those to avoid botulism poisoning.

          At a minimum, I would require from a "real mayonnaise":
          - It should have olive oil as the main component, and raw egg yolks as the main flavor component, and either vinegar or lemon juice as an emulsifier. Water is not an ingredient for mayonnaise.
          - It should be a semi-solid, not a thick sauce. If you shape it, it should stay that shape.
          - It should yellow with air exposure. That's a feature. It does not have a shelf life of months, it has a shelf life of hours. How it looks is how you avoid botulism an

      • You're wrong about cheese, but it reminds me of my favorite product name: "Pasteurized processed cheese food substitute". Somehow that's still more appetizing than "Potted meat food product". It's bad enough that you have to state that something is food, but it's even worse when you have to explicitly drive home the point that it was intended for both resale and consumption, and not simply as some sort of national emergency rations. No, honest, you should pay for this.

    • Can we please have some labelling laws so this thing can't be legally called "meat"?

      There's enough problems with processed food already. Here we have a processed thing that did not even start from being food.

      Oh - we have a person here who already knows this is bad. Seriously, it's awesome to have a person who doesn't need to know anything but knows everything.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        You eat it, we'll wait a few hundred years to see how evolution treats your kids. You never know, they could have the IQ of Socrates and be amazingly athletic. Then again, they could have the IQ and athleticism of a turnip. Why do we have to be your guinea pig?

        Science says lots of things are good, and it's not always true. Perhaps try cracking some books and reading history on the subject.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          I'll happily eat it, because I'm not a fucking pseudoscientist like you. How evolution treats your kids? What?

          Start by explaining why eating the exact same compounds, in the exact same ratios, mysteriously causes illnesses and consequences for the evolution of your progeny. Go ahead. Whatever you do, don't use 'science', because it was wrong about something, or other.

          • We KNOW from this thing called SCIENCE that diet impacts the development of humans. In fact we can see that today because we have people and countries in extreme poverty who have crap diets. We know from evolutionary biology that diet has played a role in our evolution, and have plenty of SCIENCE to back the impact.

            I never claimed that this lab meat would cause mysterious illness, you pulled that statement out of your ass because you believe in a religion and rational thought is scary to you.

            I said I woul

            • We KNOW from this thing called SCIENCE that diet impacts the development of humans.

              We who delve into science also know that there is a tremendous and pervasive amount of bullshit spread as science. Your silly atgument that this synthetic meat substange is too reisky because it might have a genetic effect on intellignec of progeny is right up theer with the Anti-vaxxers bullshit.

              Enought saying, let's talk the science using the real science, not the 5000 years form now, people's peens might fall off stuff.

          • I'll happily eat it, because I'm not a fucking pseudoscientist like you. How evolution treats your kids? What?

            That's the move the argument into an undefineable future. It borders on faith, where "I know, I cannot articulate that I know, but I'm going to accues you of jeapordizing your children because I can't be proven wrong - or right.

            Start by explaining why eating the exact same compounds, in the exact same ratios, mysteriously causes illnesses and consequences for the evolution of your progeny. Go ahead. Whatever you do, don't use 'science', because it was wrong about something, or other.

            Cold fusion didn't work, so synthetic meat can't either. Fusion is always 20 years away, so all food additives are bad for you and will make your children stupid.

            I'll be he starts yapping about micronutrients and moment now.

            The stuff is meat. It's grown as an analogue of regu

        • You eat it, we'll wait a few hundred years to see how evolution treats your kids. You never know, they could have the IQ of Socrates and be amazingly athletic. Then again, they could have the IQ and athleticism of a turnip. Why do we have to be your guinea pig?

          Science says lots of things are good, and it's not always true. Perhaps try cracking some books and reading history on the subject.

          I see. Are foods in use today not subject to the same issues? Food is food, and just because it is someon's definition of natural does not grant some ill defined health benefit. positive or negative.

          People are whacked about food in many respects. While they go bat chit crazy about Genetically modified food, and in a ridiculous display of bafflegab, attempt to say that genetic modification is in no way equivalent to say, a evil scientist making a cauliflower that contains a lot of vitaman A is bad, whi

    • Can we please have some labelling laws so this thing can't be legally called "meat"?

      Why? In what way is it "not meat"? Anyway, you can avoid buying it by looking at ... the price tag. This stuff is going to sell for at least twice the price of dead-animal-meat.

      My daughter is a vegan, and she said there is no way she will eat this stuff. According to her, it is still meat.

    • Probably not too big a concern. Chances are that it will fail due to tasting like despair.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Can we please have some labelling laws so this thing can't be legally called "meat"?

      There's enough problems with processed food already. Here we have a processed thing that did not even start from being food.

      We do, this is why Quorn advertises itself as a "protein" product. Other doubleplus good terms are "meat-free" and "meat-replacement", "meat-like" will probably be along shortly.

      You must be thinking of other bollocks terms like "natural" and "organic" which dont have legal definitions. However these labels are just there to swindle extra money out of idiots who believe in "toxins" by getting them to pay extra for the same product, responsible capitalism in other words (like the cafe who gives me 50p off

    • How about labeling the meat you eat today with "produced from animals fed with hormones and antibiotics".
    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Processed food is great. Processing have improved the quality of food products in western countries (and by extension to most of the world) in many ways. If you don't like some kind of processing (and there are many examples I personally think are shit) then list them instead of using a catchphrase used by idiots.

      The same thing applies to the reverse: natural food isn't always better, many foods require significant processing to produce something edible by humans. Heating, using chemicals, extensive water s

  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @09:56PM (#55073301) Journal

    I think Mr. Herbert had it right. We should start the engineering at the animal level and shoot for a creating a mindless animal that grows continuously without movement. Just shovel garbage in one end and slice meat off the other.

    The slig is an awesome idea!

    • We should start the engineering at the animal level

      We have been doing that for 10,000 years. Look at a Holstein. Then look at a Auroch. Do you notice any difference?

    • At least sligs ate waste, chair dogs were even more disturbing sounding. Basically a shaggy dog designed to be a living recliner.

      • Also thought of another movie called space truckers. Where they were hauling pigs shaped like squares that fit perfectly in the cages.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I think Mr. Herbert had it right. We should start the engineering at the animal level and shoot for a creating a mindless animal that grows continuously without movement. Just shovel garbage in one end and slice meat off the other.

      The slig is an awesome idea!

      I think Mr Adams is more correct.

      The meat should want to die, knowing that filling others with it's tasty body is the culmination of its life's work. It'll make meat much cheaper at the supermarket as you don't need to build slaughtering facilities, just give the beast a shotgun and send it out back. I'm sure it'll be very humane about it. An emo roast would cut itself, I don't see the downside.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @10:02PM (#55073317) Journal

    "Microsoft meat" sounds about as appetizing as cockroach pie.

    Does it include an EULA? It might really end the user.
         

  • No growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, no Listeria, E-Coli, not washed with chlorine?
    Disgusting!

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