A Gift Wish This Season – Precision Fermentation

Here’s what we wish for this holiday season: a solution to the factory-animal-agriculture threat to life on earth.

Rainforest decimation, toxic waste runoff into waterways, massive GMO mono-crops to feed 70 billion animals globally that also require 40% of U.S. land area for grazing and feed crop production, $1 billion in antibiotics used in the U.S. for farm animals leading to microbial resistance to vaccines, atrocious employee working conditions, horrendous animal suffering, health issues from meat consumption ranging from heart disease to diabetes, and 14% of global CO2 emissions or 20% if the carbon sequestration lost from deforestation is included. So much is wrong with the status quo for protein production today. 

People have begun to realize that the massive livestock factory system humans have created threatens human survival on planet earth. It is arguably a far greater threat than CO2 emissions.

A Gift Appears On the Horizon

WHAT: Precision fermentation (PF) is a biochemical process, like making beer, that is modified to end up with a different result. In addition to the better-known traditional plant-based protein sector and the biomass fermentation sector, it has rapidly emerged as a potential major disruptor of factory animal agriculture. One leading analyst, Tony Seba, states that he believes it could literally end dairy farming by 2025. He further states that it could end all factory animal agriculture by 2030. His track record forecasting other sectors, like solar and other renewables, was spot on over the last 10-15 years.

HOW: PF involves modifying micro-organisms, like yeast in the case of the beer example – which does the work of transforming sugar, wheat, and nitrogen inputs into alcohol and beer – so that a new biochemical process can produce desired outputs, like proteins and fats. While the micro-organism is modified, the protein and fat produced by it are not because protein and fat molecules do not contain genetic material.

WHAT THIS MEANS: The result is environmentally neutral, clean protein, free of antibiotics and viruses for healthier, safer, cruelty-free food produced in relatively small factories that can be built where the population is located, thereby dramatically reducing transportation costs and CO2. It can be produced locally by entrepreneurs who, like beer and winemakers, can set up shop to create their own new food labels and build LOCAL businesses around them.

NOT NEW: In fact, while the new foods are new to us, the PF process is not. In the 1950s, when insulin was manufactured for diabetics from animal pancreas’, it would take some 20+ thousand animals to make a pound of insulin. Then along came a biotech company called Genentech that used PF to create synthetic insulin used today, with no animals required.

NEW APPLICATIONS: The Impossible burger is an example of a new PF application. Impossible uses PF to make the heme component in their burgers, giving the product the red-blood-juice feature that resembles animal beef. Another example is Israeli food tech startup Remilk, a developer of milk and dairy products, is building a 750,000-square-foot facility in Denmark that will scale up milk protein production via a yeast-based fermentation process that renders them “chemically identical” to those present in cow-produced milk and dairy products. It is estimated that 20 of these facilities can supply the equivalent of 1 million cows, or all those currently in Canada. And the list of innovators goes on.

THE HOPE: Because PF has shown such a tremendous ability to scale economically, as in the case of synthetic insulin and Impossible Foods, among many other examples, and that about 70 companies are providing literally thousands of products today around the world, quietly, behind the scenes selling business to business replacing legacy ingredients with higher quality, soon-to-be less expensive ones, that the tipping point for the industry is upon us.

That’s all we want. Happy Holidays! The CCVegans Team


To Learn More About PF, please see the following resources:

Tony Seba on disruption of the dairy and animal ag industry:  https://youtu.be/g6gZHbfK8Vo

CCVegans Animal Ag Impact Summary Handout: https://bit.ly/3BHy1xE

The Good Food Institute, a leading industry organization for plant-based foods: gfi.org

Why We Need to Reboot Food – George Manbiot: https://youtu.be/zwxXAPDrLYI

Peggy and Patrick on Dave Congalton’s radio show talking about precision fermentation, 12/15/22: https://bit.ly/3PDPJYU

Rows of steel tanks for beer fermentation and maturation in a craft brewery.

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