Frédéric Leroy, Professor of Food Science and biotechnology at Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, presents a very informative lecture concluding that meat has effectively become a scapegoat for commercial and environmental advocates, much of which was based on bad science.
Speaking at a lecture at the University of Auckland, Professor Leroy discusses how this scapegoating came about and whether it is justified.
He discusses the sensationalism of media headlines regarding the safety of meat in our diet and a statement by UN Environment that “cutting back on meat is an essential part of preventing the degradation of our environment”.
He also looks at suggestions that meat should be completely replaced by vegan alternatives by as early as 2035 citing a grant that was awarded The Guardian newspaper in 2017 by the Open Philanthropy Project for a series called Animals Farmed that paints agriculture as inhumane, unhealthy and dangerous to the environment. He also points out that the Open Philanthropy Project was founded by Aaron Moskovitz who was also co-founder of Facebook who has links to animal rights activists and is an investor in Impossible Foods the creators of the Impossible Burger.
So with the Impossible Burger containing the following ingredients:
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Bamboo Cellulose, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Beet Juice Extract, Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch and Annatto
and considering the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity is linked to the increased consumption processed foods, is a future without animal products really possible?
One of the most disturbing slides of the lecture depicts the introduction of a food ‘pyramid’, in this case an igloo, created to introduce the Western diet to the Inuit which has turned their traditional diet upside down to promote more grains and less meat, a diet previously alien to them… and the result, a rise in obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
“The Pharmakon is a philosophical idea dating back to Plato, it is a substance that is both beneficial and harmful, a cure and a poison at the same time. Meat is a perfect example of the pharmakon, one part of society would refer to meat as something nourishing and another side would claim that it causes disease. This creates a concept called Pharmacos (a Greek word for Scapegoat).”
Professor Frédéric Leroy
Bear in mind however, that this lecture was presented with the help of New Zealand Beef +Lamb but Prof Leroy puts across a very compelling viewpoint.