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World's Second Largest Meat Processor Invests In Lab-Grown Meat Startup (foxbusiness.com) 111

Tyson Foods, the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, announced it has invested in Silicon Valley startup Memphis Meats, a company that makes lab-grown meat using animal cells. The investment amount was not disclosed, but it follows a slew of other high-profile backers including Cargill Inc., Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Fox Business reports: Last December, Tyson made a similar investment in another meatless startup called Beyond Meat, investing a roughly 5% stake in the company that produces plant-based meat alternatives. Tyson CEO Tom Hayes told FOX Business in March of last year that he sees plant-based protein as a big part of the company's future. "If you take a look at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) stats, protein consumption is growing around the world -- and it continues to grow. It's not just hot in the U.S.; it's hot everywhere, people want protein, so whether it's animal-based protein or plant-based protein, they have an appetite for it. Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction," Hayes told FOX Business. Memphis Meats, which debuted its first animal-free meatball in 2016, followed by the world's first chicken strip in 2017, said customers should expect to see these products on store shelves by 2021 or 2022.
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World's Second Largest Meat Processor Invests In Lab-Grown Meat Startup

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Without slaughter stress hormones, antibiotic abuse/resistance, animal suffering, etc.? Sign me up.

    • Without slaughter stress hormones, antibiotic abuse/resistance, animal suffering, etc.? Sign me up.

      It's also got what plants crave!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Right now to get beef you need to raise a bovine, and slaughter it

        To get mutton, you need to raise a lamb before slaughtering it

        Same with chicken meat, and fish

        If meat can be grown in lab, they can grow not only beef, chicken meat, mutton, fish, they can also grow all sort of exotic meat - Panda Meat, for example - and sell 'em to people who would like to sink their teeth in

        Plus, they need not kill any Panda

      • It's also got what plants crave!

        Nitrogen fertilizer?

    • Antibiotic resistance doesn't come from raising livestock, it comes from hospitals. They also don't abuse antibiotics either, rather they only use them when the animal is sick or was likely exposed to infection. Antibiotics for big animals are expensive (you need lots of it) so contrary to popular vegan urban myth, they're not used indiscriminately. The purpose behind antibiotics is to be humane, otherwise you let the animal suffer out the infection. Doing otherwise is abuse, which it seems that the movemen

      • by wes33 ( 698200 )

        Antibiotic resistance doesn't come from raising livestock,

        I don't think so; from "Agriculture and food animals as a source of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria":

        "The use and misuse of antibiotics in farm animal settings as growth promoters or as nonspecific means of infection prevention and treatment has boosted antibiotic consumption and resistance among bacteria in the animal habitat. This reservoir of resistance can be transmitted directly or indirectly to humans through food consumption and direct or indirect contact. " (doi: 10.2147/IDR.S55778)

        Please give you

      • I was discussing this the other day with some people, and someone mentioned that animals aren't given antibiotics because of infections. Instead, some farmers a few decades ago discovered that giving animals antibiotics made them grow bigger, so now antibiotics are used as a substitute for and/or in addition to growth hormones.

        Note: I haven't researched this at all myself, I'm just throwing it into the discussion in case others are interested.
  • World's Second Largest Meat Processor Invests In Lab-Grown Meat Startup

    Meanwhile, the world's largest meat processor, BeauHD, invests in shitty Slashdot posts.

    • Meanwhile, the world's largest meat processor, BeauHD, invests in shitty Slashdot posts.

      I think this may actually be the funniest thing I've ever read on /., and my hat is off to you sir.

    • Huh?

      I know people dislike a lot of BeauHD's posts, but WTF? Why this one?

      • Because of the opportunity the headline provided. I don't think BeauHD's posts are any worse than the msmash's or whoever else's. They're all shit. Slashdot is a zombie.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @09:11PM (#56030525) Journal

    With the resources [foodtank.com] necessary to raise a pound of beef (1799 gal water) and pork (576 gal water), I suppose the world may indeed hold a future in which only the ultra rich can afford the pleasure of meat on the hoof.

    How lucky are we, that we got to live during the time of Peak Meat, and know the savory explosion of juices biting into a medium rare, perfectly prepared, prime ribeye.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iggymanz ( 596061 )

      I heard some planets have this thing called Water Cycle, such that water falling on the ground is no different than water falling into a reservoir and then being pissed onto the ground by animals. who knew?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Do you also claim that aluminum recycling is pointless, as physically there is no difference between the aluminum atoms in used cans versus bauxite in the ground?

        It is about location and concentration. Some places need to process/transport water to a location, because there is not enough "water falling on the ground" in the right places to keep the reservoirs full. Using that water for agriculture means either expending energy to reprocess it, transport more from further away, or simply not using it for s

      • I heard some planets have this thing called Water Cycle, such that water falling on the ground is no different than water falling into a reservoir and then being pissed onto the ground by animals. who knew?

        Are you pissing on my leg and telling me it's raining?

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        Moving water around takes energy, which mostly comes from fossil fuels. In California, about 10% of all electricity generated is used to pump water.

        Purifying water and disposing of waste water also takes a lot of energy.

        Water consumption is not "free".

        • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @10:24PM (#56030813)

          Moving water around takes energy, which mostly comes from fossil fuels. . . . Purifying water and disposing of waste water also takes a lot of energy.

          The shock-and-awe water consumption numbers like the ones OP threw out are mostly water to grow the grass/grain the animals eat. Nearly all of that comes straight from the sky or from local wells [usda.gov], with no purification or disposal required.

          • From your own link, the average farm in America spends $17,000 annually on energy for pumping water.

            • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2018 @06:43AM (#56031887)

              From your own link, the average farm in America spends $17,000 annually on energy for pumping water.

              Actually, my link says the average farm in America that irrigates spent $17,238 in 2012 (though if you divide the $2.7 billion total pumping costs against the 229,237 farms that irrigate, that comes out to $11,778 by my calculator -- close enough for government work, I suppose).

              There are just over 900 million acres [usda.gov] of farmland in the U.S. That means the ~55 million acres that irrigate are ~6% of total farmland . The other 94% use only water from the sky.

              Another way to look at it is that $2.7 billion total irrigation costs across 900 million total acres comes out to $3 per acre . Taking corn as an example, the national average yield of 175 bushels per acre [unl.edu] at an exceptionally conservative spot price of $3/bushel [macrotrends.net] (it was about twice that in the same time frame as the above irrigation numbers, and is still higher today) means your $3/acre irrigation expenses are just over one half of one percent of your $525/acre revenue.

              Irrigation in the U.S. is minuscule any way you slice it. The only way to make it look even remotely scary is to throw out misleading numbers in a vacuum.

          • Nearly all of that comes straight from the sky or from local wells...

            About that "free" water from local wells. The main beef raising states are (in order): Texas, Nebraska and Kansas. These three states get a large part of their agricultural water from the Ogalala Aquifer, which is (was) filled with fossil water hundreds of thousands of years old with a zero recharge rate under present conditions.

            Texas was the first such state to hit "peak water" and that was almost 20 years ago. Its water extraction rate is now declining, a trend that will never be reversed. It is literall

            • Texas was the first such state to hit "peak water" and that was almost 20 years ago.

              A cute turn of phrase I hadn't heard before, and it looks like it was coined fairly recently. It took about 60 years for the "peak oil" meme to quiet down, so I suppose this one will run along for a while as well.

              Kansas hit peak water in 2010. Its available water is also dropping annually.

              The first article [washingtonpost.com] I found that wasn't from an activist says that Kansas isn't projected to "peak" until 2040 under current usage, and farmers have agreed to short-term reductions that should push that out to at least 2070.

          • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

            The shock-and-awe water consumption numbers like the ones OP threw out are mostly water to grow the grass/grain the animals eat. Nearly all of that comes straight from the sky or from local wells [usda.gov], with no purification or disposal required.

            Yes, but the problem is that groundwater reserves are not infinite. Due to heavy demand by agriculture, you're currently using them faster than they're being refilled [usgs.gov]. Quoting the link ('Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900–2008)' by U.S depart

            • See my above more detailed post -- only about 6% of U.S. farmland is irrigated. Even if all the scary stories about groundwater are true, you're probably looking at only a percentage point or two of crops that would be affected.

      • That's super if it falls onto land and is trapped in reservoirs. If it melts into the ocean from ice or flows into the ocean do to torrential rain, it's not so good. The water cycle doesn't care if you need to drink it.
      • I heard some planets have this thing called Water Cycle, such that water falling on the ground is no different than water falling into a reservoir and then being pissed onto the ground by animals. who knew?

        And now you've also heard of a thing called fossil water :)

        Water drawn from the Great Plains aquifer for example is only part of the water cycle in the very broadest sense, and it is in practice being drained much faster than its being replinished.

        More generally, yes, farming does not remove water from th

        • Making farmland and large cities in deserts certainly depletes groundwater.

          Aquifers are a great place to store floodwater for hard times. So the studies of that have started.

          Desalinating water is a perfect solar application too.

          I just don't see reason to worry about "running out of water", it's just an engineering problem.

          • Aquifers are a great place to store floodwater for hard times. So the studies of that have started.

            they are to an extent. One of the biggest sources is the Great Plains aquifer, which for a large area is covered with a layer of impermeable rock and in a semi arid region. To replenish that aquifer, you'd have to draw water from far off.

            Desalinating water is a perfect solar application too.

            Indeed yes, though it is power hungry, and would likely require an awful lot of it. Doable, but expensive and would proba

            • That's chicken little screaming nonsense.

              the United States will always be able to afford to "make" fresh water from saltwater or to store floodwaters as California and other western states will. It won't be expensive either, the most basic kind of civil engineering done or the simplest solar energy use imaginable.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @09:45PM (#56030659)

      I suppose the world may indeed hold a future in which only the ultra rich can afford the pleasure of meat on the hoof.

      Globally, the rich eat more meat, but in America meat consumption is negatively correlated with income. Higher income Americans eat less.

      The type of meat varies widely around the world. Americans eat as much chicken as they do pork and beef combined. In the EU and in China, pork is number one. South America eats the most beef.

      • Chicken meat, per pound, is reportedly about one-tenth the water expenditure of of beef; not a bad outcome but there are production anomalies [huffingtonpost.com] that seem to account for the eat mor chickn phenomenon.
        • Chicken used to be the most expensive of farm raised meats. That's why the political slogan "a chicken in every pot" is a promise of prosperity. Aggressive breeding tactics and modern nutrition have produced chickens that gain weight to market value MUCH faster than historically was the case. I read somewhere chickens now grow four times bigger than pre-WWII and in less time. Modern agricultural science made chicken cheap.

          I expect that cultured meat has the same potential to bring down the cost of meat. Ho

          • I expect that cultured meat has the same potential to bring down the cost of meat.

            Thanks to the cyanobacteria that provide the food, it looks like cultured meat has a very good environmental footprint [acs.org], the only rival is poultry.

            But that does not mean it will be cheap. There is a lot more expensive high tech involved in this that raising cows. I'm not seeing any predictions right now that it will even reach the price of real beef.

            However, while I can't recall what it's called right now, there is an effect known in economics that making a product more efficient actually ends up using even more energy because more efficiency means cheaper cost to the consumer and that in turn drives more consumer use.

            Jevons "Paradox". I put that in quotes because it has been hard to find good demonstrations of its existence, and no a priori reason to believe it is any sort of

            • But that does not mean it will be cheap. There is a lot more expensive high tech involved in this that raising cows. I'm not seeing any predictions right now that it will even reach the price of real beef.

              Not now, certainly, and probably not for a few decades. But eventually?

              Jevons "Paradox". I put that in quotes because it has been hard to find good demonstrations of its existence, and no a priori reason to believe it is any sort of "law". Lower prices (from efficiency gains) will increase use, but the pr

          • I expect that cultured meat has the same potential to bring down the cost of meat. However, while I can't recall what it's called right now, there is an effect known in economics that making a product more efficient actually ends up using even more energy because more efficiency means cheaper cost to the consumer and that in turn drives more consumer use.

            Jevon's paradox [wikipedia.org] is what you're after: utilizing a resource more efficiently can lead to higher demand of that resource. Of course, a person can only eat s

    • those numbers for meat production are very very dated. Beef is actually around 500 gallons a pound
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Why would lab grown meat be inferior? It should be much better. It can be kept sterile so no need to pump it full of antibiotics or wash it in chlorine. It should be possible to tailor it to your tastes, precisely controlling the fat content, the texture, the size and shape...

      Besides which, most meat consumed in the West is just minced up. Burgers, fillets, crap like that. Most people already can't afford to eat prime meat on a regular basis.

      • Why would lab grown meat be inferior? It should be much better. It can be kept sterile so no need to pump it full of antibiotics or wash it in chlorine. It should be possible to tailor it to your tastes, precisely controlling the fat content, the texture, the size and shape...

        Getting rid of the antibiotics in meat production should already be a done deal, but I suppose you'll have to figure out a way to disincentivize it for ranchers and feed lots.

        Don't get me wrong... I hope you're onto something there. I suspect that even if lab grown meat is the equal of the delicious variety grown in nature, there will still be a Veblen market for the authentic stuff.

    • With the resources [foodtank.com] necessary to raise a pound of beef (1799 gal water) and pork (576 gal water), I suppose the world may indeed hold a future in which only the ultra rich can afford the pleasure of meat on the hoof.

      This is a giveaway that you probably live in the American West. Here in the northeast, 1799 gallons of water means almost nothing.

      That being said, I can hardly wit until we perfect vat grown meat. The carnivore in me understands that killing other beings is just part of the natural cycle of predator/prey relationships, but not having to kill animals would be great.

      The final nail in the old school meat business ill happen when they perfect synthetic bacon.

      Then we'll be discussing whether cows should

      • Society is too big for cows to go away completely. Even if the vast majority of meat comes from synthetic sources, there will always be some market for the real thing.

        • Society is too big for cows to go away completely. Even if the vast majority of meat comes from synthetic sources, there will always be some market for the real thing.

          Yes - you are correct. There are third world countries that still rely heavily on cows, and goats, that wouldn't be getting the technology until very late if ever. I didn't take that into account.

  • Google it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When you think what you get out of a cow, most of it is junk. You get a lot of rump, some sirloin and very little fillet. It's largely the same with a chicken, where only the breast is quality meat. Lab grown meat has the potential to deliver fillet quality meat at reasonable prices, without the gristle or other undesirable content. You could also tailor the fat content for either a better taste or for people who want to lose weight.

    I'm all up for an increase in affordable quality meat, because fillet i

    • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

      Only chicken breast is quality? You need to look at the insane number of wings sold, and the large number of people who prefer dark meat. That comment was just stupid.

    • what the fuck are you on? rump and sirloin are some of the best cuts when cooked correctly, fillet while tender doesn't usually have the flavour. a chicken the best cut is the thigh not the breast.
  • It's made from Employees!

  • Still waiting for a blockchain grown meat company to invest in.
  • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2018 @04:01AM (#56031541)

    I've always felt uncomfortable about meat, and animal suffering. In the past we where able to console ourself that animals are not conscious, dont have feelings, etc, but as science progresses we're realising that this isn't the case.

    BUT, I absolutely detest vegans and vegetarians who insist on forcing their shitty diet on us using moral blackmail and abusive insinuation that meat eaters are murderers , etc. And anyway, I really like meat.

    So this might be the way forward. Tasty tasty cowflesh, without the dead cow.

    Im sure the vegan holier than though folks will still think up some reason to hate it. Fuck em

    • Don't confuse moral blackmail with owning the moral high ground. Eliminating suffering is a perfectly good argument to try and convince someone to go vegan. Just like we would reduce suffering by no longer choosing to have children for our selfish reasons of personal happiness, content at accepting all the possible suffering one's kid might go through. Both arguments seem to get the recipient especially irate.
      • There's mounting evidence to indicate that plants have their own slow-motion version of pain, memory, and communication. So going vegan to prevent animal suffering is kind of like the Chick-fil-A cows who say to eat more chicken, except it's the plants who become the target.

        Still, it's probably a lot easier for most people to accept that animals have feelings than to feel bad for eating plants. I get that. I just wanted to point out that not everybody wins.

        Of course, there's also the point that the plants w

    • So despite your moral apprehension to killing animals, you're going to kill animals just to spite those who stand against it.
    • I'm a vegan, and I think this is great news. Not everybody is going to go vegan, so giving people an alternative is a net benefit to the world.

    • by e r ( 2847683 )

      ...as science progresses we're realising that this isn't the case.

      1. Define "conciousness".
      2. [citation needed]

      BUT, I absolutely detest vegans and vegetarians who insist on forcing their shitty diet on us using moral blackmail and abusive insinuation that meat eaters are murderers , etc. And anyway, I really like meat.

      Agreed. Bottom line: animals eat each other. Veganism and vegetarianism are nothing but human virtue signalling.

      So this might be the way forward. Tasty tasty cowflesh, without the dead cow.

      Until some fool decides to re-define it as still being immoral because it's still a kind of cow (and, no, this is different from fetuses). From a sane perspective the advantage here is efficiency. It's price per pound of meat that will determine whether this succeeds or fails.

      Im sure the vegan holier than though folks will still think up some reason to hate it. Fuck em

      Agreed. They'll think up a reason to hate it because for them it's about mor

  • The story caught my attention for the large number comments, but most of them are apparently anonymous trollage. (My settings can't see AC. Happily.) The only aspect I could imagine that might have made the story legitimately interesting would be the potential conflict of interest:

    Why would a profitable meat company want to destroy its own business?

    Perhaps the real goal is to stop the changes, or at least slow them down, by buying up the competing technology--and then sitting on it as long as possible. Thes

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