Lab grown meat is the product of new technology but is new tech good tech?
In a first, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that a meat product grown in a lab is safe to eat. The lab-grown chicken, produced by the company Upside Foods, cannot be sold quite yet—first, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will need to inspect the company’s production facilities and product. But industry experts anticipate the USDA will approve the lab-grown meat in the coming months. The FDA’s decision so far only applies to the chicken grown by Upside Foods, but the lab-grown meat industry already consists of over 150 companies on six continents with more than $2.6 billion in combined investments, so we can expect further deliberations on future cultured meat products.
The question is whether lab-grown meat is a meat substitute or just another kind of meat? This is all so new that many don’t know how to answer that question. In one sense it’s still meat because it’s not made from plants. On the other hand it didn’t require the killing an animal.
There are chickens literally being boiled to death in slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouses don’t have glass walls for a reason. It’s often been said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarians. But glass walls or not these stories need to be told.
Chickens are being boiled to death in slaughterhouses across the country, right under the noses of USDA inspectors. We’re absolutely appalled at the cruelty.
It hurts to be sick, and animals are no exception. When animals are raised in factory farm conditions, they are usually crammed into small spaces, and held in very unhygienic conditions, such that diseases can run rampant. Sometimes these diseases spread from one factory to another causing a pandemic. Unfortunately farm animal disease pandemics plague our food system, destabilizing trade and markets and causing product shortages, and multiplying the amount of suffering that the animals themselves experience exponentially. Read more
Chick-fil-A recently held a “Cow Appreciation Day”, but we’re doing anything but celebrating. Their idea of “appreciating” cows is to give away free chicken. While we’re all for skipping the burgers, substituting chicken has to be one of the worst deals of the century. Let’s look at some of the details of the Chick-fil-A bad deal.
While not quite as high as beef, chicken still has high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol that contribute to clogged arteries and other diseases. Cooking chicken also produces more cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) than any other meat when cooked, and fried chicken is even worse. So there’s no doubt that eating chicken is bad for your health. Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently denied a petition by the National Chicken Council to remove the line speed limit on how many chickens can killed per second in the slaughterhouse.
Some food safety advocates cheered at this, calling it a victory for workers and consumers, but we don’t think it’s that much of a victory. The current rate at which chickens can be killed is already ridiculously fast at 3 chickens per second, and accidents and injuries are already a concern. Read more
The news about chicken just keeps getting worse. As if we needed yet another reason not to eat chicken, the Obama administration has just caved in to “big chicken” by issuing new slaughterhouse regulations. These will save the industry over $256 million every year by speeding up the pace of processing and reducing the number of required food safety inspectors, further compromising both consumer and worker safety. If the White House signs off on the USDA’s proposed regulations as expected, poultry plants could speed up their slaughter lines later this year. The maximum speed for chickens would increase from 140 birds per minute to 175 per minute, and for turkeys, from 45 birds to 55 per minute, and an antiseptic spray will substitute for inspectors.
Workers, who already often complain of carpal tunnel and other musculoskeletal disorders, will have to pluck, cut and sort birds even faster. We’ve already written about how slaughterhouse workers have one of the most dangerous and abusive jobs in the country.
To keep speeds up, the new regulations “would allow visibly contaminated poultry carcasses to remain online for treatment” rather than being discarded or removed for off-line cleaning, as is now common practice. The proposed rules say “all carcasses” on the line would be treated with antimicrobial chemicals “whether they are contaminated or not.” Worse still, when the chicken is tested it is allowed to continue on its way towards being eaten, since tests results won’t come back until much later. This is especially troubling since 97% of raw chicken in U.S. supermarkets are contaminated with bacteria that could make you sick, according to a new Consumer Reports study. We have recently posted how many of those disease-causing bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.
Then there’s the issue of the safety of the antiseptics themselves. Government agencies have not conducted independent research into the possible side effects on consumers of ingesting the disinfectant residues, not to mention the increased worker exposure.
All of this adds to the many other problems caused by chicken. High levels of saturated fat and cholesterol contribute to clogged arteries and other diseases. Cooking chicken produces more cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) than any other meat when cooked. Raising chickens also causes massive water pollution and contributes to global warming. And the poor chickens are commonly jammed into cages so crowded they can’t even turn around, causing endless animal suffering. The ever-increasing bad news about chicken will certainly encourage more people to think twice about choosing chicken for dinner.
“Warning: May Contain Feces” is the latest proposal for a label on chicken, from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), after a study found fecal contamination in half the chickens bought at 15 different supermarket chain stores in 10 different cities across America.
Yuck! Poop is the last thing anyone wants in their food. It’s gross, to say the least, and it shows just how filthy are the conditions in which we raise chickens today, and just how unsanitary the slaughterhouses are. It’s also potentially quite dangerous if you ingest it, because the poop contains E. Coli and may also contain other disease-causing bacteria, as well as parasites. It’s a bad situation for both human and bird alike, and it may be about to get even worse.