At Because, Animals we understand how novel this ingredient is and that many of you may have concerns and hesitations around meat grown in a bioreactor!
Some customers we’ve talked to say they will be totally on board once they have been assured of the safety. We want everyone to be assured of the safety of the meat we’re making. In fact the entire community of cultured meat companies wants that too.
New Harvest, a nonprofit research institute that supports research on cellular agriculture, has for the past year been working on an initiative to unite the cultured meat community on a shared understanding about the safety needs for producing this game-changing technology.
“Knowing that the promise of cultured meat will never be realized if the products are not safe, we set out to see who in the field would join us in raising the bar on safety in our community,” says Meera Zassenhaus from New Harvest.
And the bar was indeed raised with 87 people from 50 companies (including our CEO, Dr. Shannon Falconer) helping draft the paper—evidence that the community is committed to ensuring the safety of this ingredient.
The resulting manuscript collectively identifies which data is required to demonstrate the safety of cultured meat, such as how to identify any potential hazards that may be produced.
Fortunately, there are many products already in the commercial sphere from which manufacturers of cultured meat can draw upon to assess the safety and nutritional soundness of cultured meat. Such standards for comparison include:
Therapeutics - culturing mammalian cells in a bioreactor has been used in regenerative medicine for decades, where such therapeutic applications have been supported by countless studies focused on safety;
Foods prepared using fermentation - this includes ingredients such as probiotics and nutritional yeast, both of which are recognized for their nutritional value, and which are produced in a way very similar to how cultured meat is grown;
Conventional meat - for example, the profile of metabolites, protein and other nutrients in current meat can be compared against those of cultured meat to identify points of difference.
Indeed, one very cool thing about growing meat in the lab or production setting is that it’s a transparent process—growing tissue is visible and any contamination is immediately seen.
Conversely, conventional pet food meat has a host of safety problems. Every year, multiple times a year, the FDA issues recalls on pet food products (click the link to read the live list of recalls), typically due to bacterial or chemical contamination, including the animal euthanizing agent, pentobarbital. Meat from farmed animals can also contain these common contaminants: 4D meat (dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals), animal byproducts, growth hormones, antibiotics, Listeria and Salmonella. And, a recent report showed that 100% of the meat tested positive for fecal bacteria.
Because, Animals’ cultured meat is free from pathogenic bacteria and viruses. By developing custom screening panels, Because, Animals’ can ensure the absence of those bacteria, fungi, and viruses (including coronaviruses), to confirm the absolute safety of our cultured meat products.
And, as noted, it’s not just us: everyone in the industry is working hard to proactively ensure the safety of cellular agriculture. The more consumers who have faith in our process ultimately means more consumers will try our products, leading to less reliance on factory farmed meat and its harmful effects on our planet.