TEL AVIV, Israel — Aleph Farms is calling on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote clean meat for its compelling safety advantages, such as being antibiotic free and pathogen free. This request comes in response to the US Cattlemen’s Association’s (USCA) petition to the USDA to restrict the terms “beef” and “meat” only to slaughtered animal-based products.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of antibiotics solely for animal-growth promotion. Despite the FDA’s restrictions, 70 to 80 percent of US antibiotic sales go to livestock, according to the New York Times. This fact raises public health concerns about increased antibiotic resistance, which causes about 23,000 American deaths a year and $34 billion in financial losses annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC also estimates that every year, more than 400,000 United States residents become ill with infections caused by antibiotic-resistant food-borne bacteria. Ironically, antibiotics may not prevent pathogens in meat. For example, a 2014 Consumer Reports study found illness-causing bacteria on 97% of inspected raw chicken breasts purchased at retail stores nationwide.
“Aleph Farms grows antibiotic-free clean meat outside of the animal in a safe, controlled environment, preventing the development of bacteria,” said Dr. Neta Lavon, Vice President of R&D at Aleph Farms. “Aleph Farms views its advanced 3D cellular agriculture technology as the next step in agricultural practices.”
“A key USDA role is to minimize consumer exposure to unsafe agricultural products, including meat,” said Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “In recent years, the USDA has implemented new proactive policies to reduce pathogens in animal products. The innovation of clean meat is a natural development in line with USDA policies to reduce exposure to pathogens. Most meat is contaminated during the slaughter process, and clean meat eliminates this risk.”
USCA members may perceive clean meat as a threat to their businesses. The cattlemen’s petition claimed that clean meat products “are likely to become more prevalent in the marketplace and take away market share from farmers.” Given the forecasted protein shortage worldwide, Aleph Farms trusts that there is plenty of room in the market for all.
“We understand this is a sensitive issue for the cattlemen, but at Aleph Farms, we see the introduction of clean meat as an industry-wide opportunity, rather than a threat,” said Toubia. “We are not looking to replace farmed meat, but rather to offer an additional choice to the consumer.”
“Aleph Farms has tremendous respect for hardworking cattle farmers; my wife is a farmer, too,” said Toubia. “The farmers’ role is to feed the world, so they should be willing to embrace new food production technologies.”
About Aleph Farms
Aleph Farms (previously Meat-the-Future) was co-founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen, which is part of Strauss Group Ltd., and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The company is supported by US and European venture capital firms. Aleph’s clean meat mimics traditional cuts of beef in both structure and texture, but without beef’s huge environmental impact, its heavy resource requirements, or its contribution to climate change.