“Clean Food”
Kevin Folta

I’ve been working peripherally alongside the founders of Memphis Meats for over a year. The CEO is a cardiologist from India who is also a vegan. We had this discussion about “clean” early on, because I had the same strongly negative reaction as KF to the use of the term as marketing, which I found misleading, cynical, and elitist.

But he was using the term in two different ways. In the first, he literally means “clean” in the sense that their products — fermentation-derived meat cells — carry an extremely low burden of enteric bacteria compared to conventionally slaughtered meat. I find this potentially problematic but it’s very important to him.

His use of “clean” has another connotation for him: ethically clean. He wants to serve a market that is hungry for meat but has varying degrees of aversion to exploitation of livestock. I don’t find this sense of “clean” to be cynical or elitist.