I generally try to avoid most Sunday morning news programs. It’s typically when big wigs in either political party are trotted out to give the latest talking points. And things can get rather heated. Who honestly needs that on a Sunday morning?
I usually have CBS’s Sunday Morning on in the background while I’m doing chores, playing with Mischa, or engaging some mindless app on my phone. It’s more of a feel-good program sans politics. And, honestly, not all that relevant.
But this week was different. It featured this segment about the Impossible Burger. IB is a plant-based burger (not cell-based) that mimics the taste of real meat. How? It uses heme, an iron-rich molecule that gives raw meat a bloody taste. IB combines heme from soybean plants with other plant proteins to create a burger patty that tastes and smells like the real thing. And, yes, it even bleeds.
In a relatively short period of time, IB has gone mainstream. Highly-rated restaurants are now serving it. And even Burger King offers an Impossible Burger whopper. The appeal is easy to appreciate: an allegedly smaller environmental footprint, no actual animals involved, plant-based, and it tastes like meat.
And in a perfect world I think IB has a role to play. The demand for meat continues to grow, especially as China develops a middle class that can afford it. IB could work in tandem with conventional and cell-based meat production to increase supplies without contributing to deforestation and requiring an increase in feed. It could be another option in the grocery store and at restaurants to help us feed the world’s growing population.
But that’s not what Pat Brown wants at all. Brown is the scientist and creator of IB. And he’s pretty blunt about what he hopes to accomplish with his fake meat. In the interview with Sunday Morning, he said this:
CBS: So do you think you’re going to be putting the conventional meat business out of business?
Brown: That’s the whole purpose of Impossible food.
CBS: You want them gone?
Brown: The purpose of Impossible foods is…this industry and this technology is the greatest threat to the future of our planet. Period.
At least he’s totally honest?
I mean, he’s totally wrong about meat being the greatest threat to the future of our planet. Also meat is actually an important part of our diet. And while we need options, real options mean having more than one choice. I don’t want Brown or anyone else to dictate the food I eat.
Brown’s callousness for meat producers is also a huge turn off. Family farms comprise 97% of all farms in the United States, according to the USDA. So Brown essentially wants to end a bunch of family farms in favor of his fake-bleeding burgers. I understand the thirst for money, but that seems over the top.
So Brown’s comments have totally turned me off to IB. I’m going to vote with my dollars and not try one. And I’m going to tell everyone I can that Brown’s real objective is to end thousands of family farms around the country. Because that’s what it means if the “conventional” meat producers are put out of business: family farms shut down. And I’m not going to support a person, company, or product that wants to see that happen.
Kendall Roberts says
Thank you for honesty! My husband and I are cattle producers in Wyoming and we saw the same report on Sunday Morning. Our hearts were broke that someone thinks so low of animal agriculture. I wish we all could work together to just feed the world, and not try to end our businesses.
Geof Barrington says
The elites see the middle class as a threat and they want it gone . They want themselves and slaves only
Dennis Laughton says
If we loose the livestock industry the organic farmers loose their only source of crop fertility.
If you’re confident in your product, you won’t feel threatened by plant-based meat products.
If it was an honest conversation, no one would feel threatened by it. But as we can already see with the propaganda claiming animal agriculture is so bad for the environment (including Bown’s own words), this isn’t going to be an honest conversation. And that’s precisely the problem with so much discussion about food today.
Lisa Brooks says
You said this well. Mr. Brown’s bleeding plant & chemical based substitute for whole foods eating reeks of capitalism. I might go one step further and not support Burger Kings (etc) who sell Brown’s fake meat creations because they are supporting an anti-family farm capitalist movement! Why not substitute a wholesome Portobello Mushroom cap as a burger or create whole food chemical free meat-free burgers made from farm fresh ingredients as a substitute for those who want a choice. Looking like and tasting like is never whole food or in any way healthy or good for all.
Brian Cummins says
When did capitalism become a dirty word? Our country was founded on its principles. I support family farms and animal agriculture and have not been convinced that it is the detriment to the planet that some make it out to be.
Jeff W says
Also worth pointing out that IB has more fat, more calories and more sodium per serving than regular ground beef.
Al part of the UN agenda to remove people from their land. Popularize fake meat…kills a meat industry , not only beef but pork and chicken etc. It’s blatantly obvious what they are up to. Put the farmers out of business and so goes the lively hood off the land. Problem solved for them. If you are unaware of the UN agenda 21 and 2030 , might wanna research it…our politicians are mostly puppets to the cause. Money and greed inflances .
In a hypothetical scenario could farmers still run a successful business growing crops just for humans with no livestock to feed? If not, how come? Impossible burgers may not be the answer but humans will always need food and farmers will always be needed. Sorry just curious about what an actual farmer thinks of this.
I think that’s an answer that farmers in different sectors would have to answer individually. For example, lots of cattle graze on ground that isn’t fit to grow crops. So I don’t know what those farmers would do with it. And corn is used in lots of things, not just for feed, so we could still grow corn. But there isn’t one-size-fits-all farming. So that answer would vary.
I just hope farmers and the industry can adapt if the world eventually decides to change their diet.
By the way, I heard that a start up company has genetically modified a bacteria to make all the main proteins found in milk. If they then made milk, ice cream, cheeses, etc.. for a better price, would you support that? I am pro GMO and pro flavor and cost so I would support that. I also would not find it unnatural since all of our alcohols, breads and cheeses are made with the help of bacteria.