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Reblogged:Fake Meat, Fake Promises

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In the same vein that it is mildly amusing to see leftists wring their hands over all the birds their windmills kill, I recommend the following before reading through an article at the New Republic titled, "The Promise and Problem of Fake Meat." Make some popcorn.

I like real butter with mine.

As my regulars know, I oppose the Green New Deal and I have a very low regard for practically all nutritional advice I hear, particularly from the press and the government. I also happen to like meat, and feel approximately ... zero ... moral qualms of any kind about eating it. In fact, I so strongly suspect that meat is an important enough component of my diet that I have no interest in substituting something created in a lab from vegetable matter. It's not that I don't think a lab couldn't do this at all: It's that I don't think a lab can do this today,  given the current state of our knowledge about nutrition.

With all that out of the way, I present what I regard as one of the few somewhat compelling paragraphs from the piece:

I'll have the real thing, thanks. (Image by Markus Spiske, via Unsplash, license.)
Traditional meat products usually have one ingredient. These newfangled meatish products are more complicated. The Impossible Burger has 21 ingredients, and the Beyond Burger has 22. Impossible's main contents are soy protein isolate, sunflower oil, and coconut oil; Beyond's are pea protein isolate, coconut oil, and canola oil. The oil in each product is supposed to mimic beef's fat content; the soy and pea proteins mimic the protein content. Both plant-based burgers contain water, salt, and the binding agent methylcellulose. Both are gluten-free.
Oh. I forgot. I tend to break out if I have too much vegetable oil other than olive oil. And I'm not an anti-GMO Luddite. But while food processing isn't bad in and of itself, I am wary of replacing a significant amount of meat with plant material engineered to resemble meat. So, yeah. They're not exactly 3-D printing a perfect replica of actual meat here.

Perhaps even more compelling is what the article takes for granted. Consider, selfishly please, the two main reasons the piece finds fake meat "promising:" (1) Its manufacture supposedly results in the production of less greenhouse gas than actual meat; and (2) It might reduce the overall incidence of certain diseases that have been attributed to meat consumption among the general population. These are both debatable assertions of debatable utility. (The article does suggest the rather insulting "utility" of the product helping the guilt-ridden fool themselves. No thanks.)

Note further that neither argument is pitched in a way to appeal to an individualist, and that should raise one's suspicions to say the very least. The second superficially looks like a pitch to the health-conscious, but is arguably insulting: Diet and exercise regimens always require some degree of self-experimentation because of individual variability, and the government's pronouncements on such matters have a poor track record even as general advice on top of that. And I don't recall reading anything about price, (Nor do the terms cost or price appear anywhere in the story.) Whatever one thinks of global warming or government nutrition advice, the question Why should I want fake meat at all? is never really addressed.

Perhaps the take-home is this: When something is touted as a promise in altruistic or collectivist terms, it should be regarded as a threat until proven otherwise.

-- CAV

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