What Happened to Lab-Grown Meat?

To the Editor:

Re “$3 Billion Later, Where’s the (Planet-Saving, Lab-Grown) Beef?,” by Joe Fassler (Opinion guest essay, Feb. 11):

In his extensively reported piece, Mr. Fassler pulls back the curtain on cultivated meat. The hard sell for lab-grown meat has always sounded more like Theranos-style spin than feasible innovation, and Mr. Fassler’s reporting certainly gives that impression. So where does that leave us?

The industrial meat industry takes a terrible toll on the planet and animal welfare, and cultivated meat enthusiasts have long argued the only alternative is to provide consumers with facsimiles of the real stuff.

In the essay, one alt-meat die-hard compared the solution to this dilemma to two hypothetical runners, one, representing cultivated meat. The other? “Grass-roots activism, political advocacy, nutritional education, farm policy, fair labor practices, animal conservation.” While he wanted to root for this multiplicity of approaches, he noted that most people want to invest their dollars where they can get a return.

That may be true of venture capital, of course, but there’s another story emerging around the world. A growing number of foundations are putting their money on that other runner: not fake meat, but a multipronged approach to transition to regenerative agriculture. These solutions need the boosterism — and the billions of dollars — cultivated meat has benefited from.

In this make-or-break decade as the climate crisis intensifies, making such big bets is the best way to give us a fighting chance against the billion-dollar antiquated and dirty sector that is industrialized meat.

Anna Lappé
Berkeley, Calif.
The writer is the author of “Diet for a Hot Planet” and the executive director of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.

Related Articles

Back to top button