Feb 5Liked by Larissa Zimberoff

I’m really interested in the mock meat topic. I’ve spoken to nutritional scientists who are not so much concerned about the ‘safety’ as whether they’re good for our health. An array of nutrients can be lost in processing, bioavailability of things like zinc and iron can be inferior to that of actual meat, disruption of the food matrix not good for our microbiome, often high in sugar/salt etc. I’m concerned these products are just another ultra processed food that we should be avoiding. Very interesting post though.

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As a food safety expert and food technologist, I am super worried about prions in cultured meat and the issue is getting almost no attention. :( Probably because we don't know a lot about prions (except that they are scary and deadly). Chicken cultured meat is less risky for prions than beef and that might be why Upside went for chicken not beef. But using bovine serum to make chicken - which Upside might do - increases the prion risk.

Prions are impossible to test for and take a few years to kill consumers so although the likelihood of prion contamination is low the consequences would be catastrophic.

Separate to any safety concerns, the information we learned about Upside's cultured chicken manufacturing process shows there are aspects of the cultured meat industry that many consumers would find distasteful or worrying. These include the use of hormones from other animals; the need for animal foetus products and the use of genetic engineering technologies.

I've written more about these 'hidden' issues in cultured meat safety elsewhere but won't spam your comments with links (!), let me know if you want to chat/cross-post.

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