Would You Drink Dairy Milk Made in a Lab Without Cows?

Would You Drink Dairy Milk Made in a Lab Without Cows?
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If you’re a vegan or a dedicated plant-based eater, would you return to drinking dairy milk if cows weren’t part of the process? It’s an interesting proposition, isn’t it?

Perfect Day Foods is making a new vegan product that will do just that. The company is developing “real” milk that has whey and casein, but the product is made in a laboratory instead of in a cow.

In other words, if you miss cow’s milk, soon you might be able to drink a glass and still be a vegan.

Perfect Day Foods developed a form of microflora that’s able to create the proteins whey and casein, which are found in animal milk. Food scientists did this using a strain of yeast obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Perfect Day then printed a cow’s DNA sequence on a 3D printer and inserted it into the yeast. Using biotechnology, the yeast ferments the microflora’s sugar and turns it into real dairy protein — casein and whey — that have the same molecular makeup as cow’s milk.

With all the plant-based milks we have available now, demand for dairy is dropping like a stone. Why, then, is Perfect Day trying to replicate dairy milk at all?

Well, not everyone gave up milk for health reasons. Some did it because of the shockingly abusive nature of the dairy industry. Others are lactose intolerant. Much like those who are eager to buy lab-grown “clean meat,” there are undoubtedly many on a plant-based diet who’d buy lab-made dairy milk, if it were available.

Don’t forget cheese, by the way. If it’s “real” cheese, but vegan, would you indulge?

Many point to cheese as the one dairy product they just cannot give up. Soon, they can eat a 100 percent plant-based diet and have dairy cheese too.

Admit it, you’re a little excited about that idea. And it’s not just milk and cheese we’re talking about. Nearly everyone drinks protein shakes and eats meal supplement bars these days. Whey is often the source of protein in such products. To be able to provide that same protein without animals would be a monumental achievement.

Perfect Day announced in November 2018 it will partner with Archer Daniels Midland Company to bring their animal-free dairy products to market. The first Perfect Day dairy-free proteins for use in food products will be in stores sometime in 2019.

“We’re one step closer in a big way to making this real,” Perfect Day co-founder Perumal Gandhi told Fortune as the partnership was announced. “It’s a huge vote of confidence.”

One thing’s for sure. Right now, Perfect Day is the only company out there trying to bring a product of this kind to consumers. Unlike alternative milks, alternative meats and even lab-grown “clean meats,” no one else is developing “real” milk made without cows.

Once, biotech fermentation was simply too pricey to be used to develop experimental new foods in this way. Pharmaceutical companies used it to develop expensive medicines and such. Lately, though, the cost has dropped dramatically.

Suddenly, anything is possible. And, fortunately, companies like Perfect Day recognized that “anything” includes revolutionizing animal-related foods.

A company spokesperson told Plant Based News:

This partnership brings Perfect Day substantially closer to introducing a new category of ingredients to the food industry, and participation by an established market leader highlights its strong prospects for creating a sustainable supply of protein.

This technology holds promise on many fronts. For example, it can be used to make gelatin without requiring animal bones.

Truly, one day soon we’re going to be able to make “real” meat, milk and other animal-based ingredients without involving any animals at all. And what a victory that will be for farmed animals!

Photo credit: Getty Images

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