Bulletin: Reinventing meat to stave off climate crisis—and the next pandemic

Are we eating our way into climate crisis?

The global food system is responsible for between 21 and 37 percent of annual emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Roughly half of the world’s land surface is used for agriculture, and 96 percent of the world’s mammalian biomass is either human or livestock, chiefly pigs and cattle. And the global appetite for meat is only predicted to grow.

Bruce Friedrich believes that there is a better way to make and eat meat. He founded the Good Food Institute to advance the future of alternative meats, including plant-based meat made from—duh—plants (like pea protein and coconut oil), and cultivated meats, which are grown from animal cells.

In this interview with Bulletin associate editor Jessica McKenzie, Friedrich elaborates on Good Food Institute’s theory of change, why it is working with—not against—meat companies, how alternative meats could help prevent the next pandemic, and how they can achieve taste, texture, and price parity with meat. He also responds to criticisms that alternative meats are nothing more than corporate greenwashing.

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FairWarning: Pesticides and Produce: Environmental Group Lists Cleanest and Dirtiest Fruits and Vegetables

An environmental advocacy group is out today with its annual report on pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Raisin lovers, take note.

Nearly all conventionally-grown raisins are contaminated by traces of two or more pesticides, according to test data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the report by the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C. The average sample contained more than 13 pesticides, and one sample tested positive for 26. Even most organic raisins sampled by the USDA tested positive for at least one pesticide. The environmental group recommends that consumers buy organic raisins when possible, or avoid raisins in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables with lower levels of pesticide contamination.

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New Food Economy: Scientists say many UTIs are caused by E. coli in food—when will the government believe them?

The women may have lived more than 2,500 miles apart, but somehow they had a unique strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli bacteria in common.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found the E. coli bacteria in 48 urine samples from college students who visited health centers at UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota with urinary tract infections (UTIs). Between 38 and 51 percent of the Berkeley, Minnesota, and Michigan students with UTIs resistant to the first-line antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, often marketed as Bactrim, were infected with the same strain. Read more…

New Food Economy: Why blockchain won’t fix food safety—yet

These days it’s hard to read about the future of industry—nearly any industry, really—without hearing how the blockchain is going to completely disrupt it. Blockchain is best known for being the digital accounting backbone of the volatile digital currency Bitcoin, but in many other contexts it is being promoted as a catch-all solution for transparency, efficiency, and trust. And the food industry is no exception. Some companies, including giants like Walmart, Nestlé, and Dole, are hopeful that the high-tech tool can be used to address longstanding problems around food safety and traceability. Read more…