Lab grown meats are here so what should you know about them?
As your nutritionist, I do think you should avoid them, and I’m going to show you how to source your own local beef.
There are two reasons for this.
- You’ll know EXACTLY what you are eating.
- And it will save you money too.
What is Lab Grown Meat?
Meat grown in a laboratory from cultured cells is has moved from a bad sci-fi movie into a reality. … The meat is made by first taking a muscle sample from an animal. Technicians collect stem cells from the tissue, multiply them, and allow them to differentiate into primitive fibers that then bulk up to form muscle tissue.
It goes by other names as well: cultured meat, in vitro meat, synthetic meat.
We’ve been exposed to “meat like” substances made from soy or wheat gluten for years. But this is a first here in the USA.
Who Is Behind Lab Grown Meat?
Several start-ups are developing lab-grown beef, pork, poultry and seafood—among them Mosa Meat, Memphis Meats, SuperMeat and Finless Foods.
And the field is attracting millions in funding.
In 2017, for instance, Memphis Meats took in $17 million from sources that included Bill Gates and agricultural company Cargill.
Yikes. None of that sounds good! I hope you’ll continue to research this but I want to keep moving to talk about action steps.
Should You Eat It?
This is easy. No.
I am here as a nutritionist encouraging you to eat a whole food, plant based, nutrient dense diet of REAL FOOD.
We have failed for years at replicating what God naturally put in the food supply.
Vitamins and minerals are never as therapeutic as a whole food nutrient dense diet.
And if you are concerned about “getting your protein” I’ve written several articles about this and I will link to them at the bottom for additional reading.
How to Source Local Beef
Johny and I used to have a small herd of cows, and we raised a few steers each year to sell grass fed beef. So I know a bit about the subject and I’ll share what I can so you can insure you know your rancher!
Ask friends and colleagues if they have bought direct from a rancher. If you don’t get any hits here, do an online search and find a few options. I think you’ll find someone in your local area
Call the producer and ask some questions.
- What was the animal fed, from birth to death?
- Native grasses? Alfalfa and if so was it GMO or non-GMO?
- Was it ever grain fed? If so, what grain and how long? Was the grain organic?
- Did the animal receive any substances besides vaccines? It’s pretty hard to get a vaccine free animal as it’s industry standard but you can ask how many.
- Do they back pour or do the chemically treated ear tags?
- Have the animals received any antibiotics or growth hormones? This will almost invariably be no when you aren’t dealing with a feedlot, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- What was the animal fed, from birth to death?
If you are happy with the answers you are getting, you can now talk about pricing. Expect to pay a certain amount of the hanging weight. A share of the kill fee. And the processing fees. These will vary depending on the animals size. For example, the hanging weight could be 900, 1200 or 1400#. If you buy a half of a beef, you’ll pay for half of the kill fee and half of the processing fee. Your producer should be able to give you a rough idea of the actual “in the freezer” price per pound. You should know about how much meat to expect (within 5-10%). And about what your investment will be.
Ask who the meat processor is. You might ask around if you did have friends who’ve done this and make sure they were happy with the final product. Did they feel like they got the amount of meat they were expecting? Did they feel like they got the same animal? I have heard of butchers taking that nice, grass fed beef and doing some shady swaps. There is no way to protect against this except to butcher your own animal so that is why I am encouraging you to make sure the butcher is reputable.
My last butcher tip is to ask to weigh the meat when you pick up your meat. If they balk at all, do not give in. I promise you they have scales and if they aren’t upfront about letting you weigh your meat before you go, there is something shady going on. Don’t take no for an answer. And make sure that the amount is close to what you expected. If it’s not, go through the boxes, weigh everything piece by piece with them and make a list.
This last tip is a big deal to me because Johny and I took a steer in for butchering. I knew to ask about doing this and it was a new butcher to us. They told me they didn’t have a scale. I left with the meat, and when Johny went through it, he knew without a doubt they had stolen quite a bit of meat from us. A lot of people wouldn’t know if they were missing meat, but Johny was a butcher for 10 years at a meat market back in the day. Once I left the property, it was our word against theirs. We spoke to the owner. He conceded something was fishy and offered a small refund. Whoever stole from us took some of the best cuts that would value at $20/lb (brisket, prime steaks..). It was definitely a losing situation for us as it takes 2 years to raise a steer and so we didn’t just lose meat, we lost 2 years put into the steer.
Don’t let any of this process dissuade you. It’s still better to go through this investigative process than gamble at the super market and restaurants and possibly be eating lab grown meat! Ignorance is not bliss (or healthy!)