US Soldiers Might Serve As Testers For Lab-Grown Meat

( — An environmental research and advocacy group is warning that American troops could become “guinea pigs” in a Pentagon-funded initiative to expand the production of lab-grown meat and other alternative protein sources.

A public/private “bio-manufacturing consortium” called BioMADE last month announced an opportunity sponsored by the Department of Defense for producers of lab-grown meat and other alternative protein sources to apply for grants of up to $2 million in a federally-funded study to expand production.

Meat grown in a lab is made by growing the fat tissue and muscle of a particular animal from animal cells using bioreactors that, through temperature, pressure, and chemicals, create ersatz meats, including chicken, beef, and pork.

As yet, lab-grown meats have not landed on supermarket shelves but they have been available online for the last five years.

The push for artificial meats, however, has not been without pushback.

Lawmakers in Alabama and Florida have banned the sale of lab-grown meat to the public, while in Iowa, Governor Reynolds signed legislation prohibiting the sale of lab-grown meat in schools.

In the US Senate, Montana Democrat Jon Tester and South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds introduced legislation in January to prohibit federal-funded public school lunch programs from including lab-grown meat.

The environmental advocacy group the Center for the Environment and Welfare opposes the process used in producing alternative meat, arguing that the cell replication used is similar to the growth of cancer cells.

Jack Hubbard, the group’s executive director, said in a recent interview that the BioMADE consortium received more than $500 million in taxpayer funding from the Pentagon for its grant initiative, which is aimed at meeting the Pentagon’s “climate goals.”

Hubbard said the initiative will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a “politically driven agenda” and argued that the Pentagon’s “eventual goal” is to serve lab-grown meat to US troops despite the multiple concerns over the risks the products pose to health and safety.

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