Lab-grown animal protein is not meat, says Cattle Council

In similar fashion to USDA a few months back, Chief executive of the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA), Margo Andrae, has called for reforms to clarify the legal definition of ‘meat’ to avoid conflicts in the market between livestock and laboratory-based producers.

The definition of meat is outlined by Food Standards Australia New Zealand as coming from “the whole or part of the carcass” and does originate from “foetuses or parts of the foetuses”. Lab grown protein, or ‘clean meat’, is typically produced from the blood of unborn calves, extracted before their birth to form Foetal Bovine Serum. This raises questions surrounding the marketing language that can be used for these products in the marketplace, prompting Andrae to speak out on the issue.

The dairy industry experienced similar problems regarding the term ‘milk’. Farmers lobbied for bans on soy and almond dairy drinks being sold as ‘milk’ due to the potential confusion consumers face. As clean meat approaches commercialisation as an alternative to traditional meat products, suitable frameworks and regulations need to be adapted to protect consumers and businesses.

Proponents say that lab grown meat is set to become extremely affordable. Five years ago, the first lab-grown burger cost US$325,000, but three years ago it dropped to US$11 to US$17/kg. Industry insiders predict prices will drop to US$1/kg by 2020. It will be difficult for the cattlemen to compete with labs at those prices.

Read more: ABC / FastCompany

Image: Pixabay / CC0-1.0 – Cow in paddock

This story is taken from the 11 May 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.