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New company sets out to develop meats and cheeses made entirely from plants

Feedlot beef

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(NaturalNews) The conditions at today's largest and most efficient farm animal feedlots is horrifying. Cattle are herded into muddy, tight spaces where they are routinely force-fed antibiotics. The antibiotics are not for treating diseases; they are used to fatten the animals up to make them more profitable.

How do these hasty feedlot conditions ultimately affect the hamburger meat that is served to salivating customers throughout the industrialized world?

Not only is the taste diminished in this unethically raised meat, but the nutritional quality is also destroyed. It has been proven time and time again that animals allowed to graze freely on nutrient-rich grasses ultimately provide a much higher quality meat that is richer in healthy fats and key nutrients. The kind of energy that is put into animal care (or abuse) is the same kind of energy that is reaped in return.

The way in which animals are raised is important. This is especially true when they are hastily fattened up with antibiotics. Animals that are fed low levels of antibiotics slowly become a breeding ground for highly-evolved bacteria strains that resist antibiotics. As these bacterium spread from cattle to humans, the repercussions can lead to diseases that can't be treated by modern antibiotics, ultimately leading to death.

It is vital for feedlots to give up antibiotic use and stop encouraging the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It's important that large companies start sourcing their meat from sources that don't treat animals this way.

Company bypasses the use of animals for creating meats and cheeses

One company has set out to make hamburgers and cheeses by bypassing the need for animals altogether. The groundbreaking company, Impossible Foods, has set out to create meat and cheeses from plant biomass. Scientists working for the company have already isolated the plant proteins necessary to create entire cheeseburgers from plant sources alone.

"Making meat a better way," is how Stanford University biologist and physician Patrick Brown describes his company's mission.

"Our challenge was to make a product that would appeal to the hardcore meat lover," said CEO Patrick Brown in a recent interview with CNBC. "We wanted to have a product that would deliver all the pleasures that people get from eating meat without any of the baggage; no cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, [or] E. coli."

Launched in 2012, Impossible Foods has already raised $74 million, attracting big-time investors like Bill Gates. Gates, who is worried about world population totals reaching 9 billion by 2050, believes that world resources for meat production will not be able to keep up with demand. "We can't ask everyone to become vegetarians. That's why we need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources," Gates wrote in a personal blog back in March.

Agreeing with Gates, CEO Patrick Brown points out that the amount of land and water needed to properly raise cattle in the 21st century poses problems, especially for the environment. "Animal farming ... is the single biggest environmental threat in the world today," he said.

Brown hopes to replace animal farming in the future with his version of exclusively plant-derived meats. Brown says that the prices of the new version of meat will be similar to the high-end meats that are already on the market. Over time, he envisions the price falling as production increases.

Brown's team examined animal meats at the molecular level to determine what would be needed to recreate them. The team isolated specific proteins and nutrients from seeds, grains, and common salad greens to mimic the flavors and textures of real meat and dairy products.

"Figuring it out was hard, making it actually was a relatively simple process," Brown said. "We use simple ingredients from plants that you could pretty much find in your local supermarket."

He added, "We deliberately select out specific, very specific proteins from plants -- this is something that hasn't really been done before for food -- that have the exact properties we need."

"Every molecule in our burger," he said, "is something found in nature."

"The total amount of plant biomass will be much greater and far more diverse as we switch from making meat and cheese from livestock to plants. Our impact should be easily visible from outer space."

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