Meet Ian (& Learn About Clean Meat)

At current rates, production of meat and seafood around the world will double to 1.2 trillion pounds by 2050. Our planet cannot afford to supply the water, fuel, pesticides, and fertilizer that industrialized animal production requires. It can’t afford the polluted water or the biodiversity loss. It can’t afford the moral inconsistencies.

We think it’s unlikely that families in Alabama (or anywhere in the world) will consistently choose plant-based alternatives over chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. And when you’re talking animal protein, higher unit volume and accordingly lower prices will necessarily mean industrialized animal production. There’s no conventional way around this math.

Our mission requires a solution to these economic and cultural realities. So, over the past year, we’ve started the early work of expanding our platform to solve the technical challenges of scalable clean meat. Clean meat and seafood are made from cells instead of live, confined animals.

Here’s how:

Meat and seafood are primarily a combination of muscle and fat cells. They require nutrients to grow, whether inside an animal or in a clean facility. And the main limiting factor in scaling clean meat has been providing cells with a sustainable and economical source of nutrients required for cell growth. Our methodology of discovery (material isolation, assays, and discovery output) is the same whether we’re finding a plant to replace dairy in butter or a plant to feed cells for clean and sustainable meat and seafood.

With plants providing nutrients for animal cells to grow, we believe we can produce meat and seafood that is over 10x more efficient than the world’s highest volume slaughterhouse (a 1,000,000-square foot facility in Tar Heel, N.C.). All this without confining or slaughtering a single animal and with a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions and water use. Despite the challenges in front of us, from biocompatible scaffolds and bioreactor design to scaling production, that’s where we’re headed.

Imagine choosing between a similarly priced pound of clean high-grade bluefin tuna belly or conventional tilapia from underwater traps. Or clean A5 Kobe beef versus conventional sirloin (corn-fed and confined). Our approach will be transparent and unquestionably safe, free of antibiotics and have a much lower risk of foodborne illness. The right choice will be obvious.

Q: Are any animal products, such as bovine serum, required to produce clean meat?
A: No, we are developing an animal-free, plant-based nutrient recipe to feed cells.

Q: Does clean meat production involve antibiotics or genetic modification?
A: No, we can use unmodified cells which occur naturally in animals, and can be grown antibiotic-free.

Q: Is it really possible to isolate cells from a single feather?
A: Yes.

Q: Is clean meat safe to eat?
A: Yes, clean meat is made in a process similar to brewing beer, yeast grown for breadmaking, rennet used to make cheese, and other foods made by large-scale cell culture.

Q: What are the main inputs in the process?
A: The nutrients the cells need in order to grow, including water, sugar, amino acids, lipids, vitamins, and minerals.

Q: Why is this better for the environment?
A: Preliminary analyses show significant reductions in land use, water use, Greenhouse Gas emissions, and energy use.

Q: Is that real clean meat in the video?
A: Yes, it is an early clean-meat prototype that also contains breading and plant-based filler. As we progress, our goal is to bring down the price and improve its quality and scaleability.

Q: When do you expect to have the first clean meat product on the market?
A: By the end of 2018.

Q: What happened to Ian?
A: Ian is now spending his days at a sanctuary in Northern California.

Q: Why are you partnering with farmers and meat companies?
A: Our goal is to feed sustainable protein to a growing global population. We share this goal with many farmers and meat companies–and we can’t build a more just food system alone.

For more information, contact us at: wecare@justforall.com