Cargill Invests in “Clean Meat” Startup Company

Jacob Bunge reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Cargill Inc. is betting you won’t always need cattle to make hamburgers.

“The agricultural conglomerate has invested in Memphis Meats Inc., a startup developing technology to grow meat from self-reproducing animal cells. The stake marks the first investment by a traditional meat company in the nascent ‘clean meat’ sector, where startups are creating products they say are better for the environment than meat derived from traditional feedlots and slaughterhouses. Cargill and Memphis didn’t disclose the size of the stake.

“Meat companies are under pressure from consumers to reduce their reliance on animal drugs and to treat livestock more humanely. Some have invested in plant-based burgers and chicken strips, hoping to win business from both vegetarians and carnivores concerned about the meat industry’s heavy use of crops and water.”

Mr. Bunge noted that, “Memphis and other startups in the U.S. and Europe are working on another route to assuage those concerns: Using cell-culture technology to grow meat from living animal tissue in stainless-steel cultivator tanks.”

Yesterday’s Journal article added that, “Memphis on Wednesday said Cargill’s investment was part of $17 million in funding that also drew from Bill Gates, Richard Branson and venture-capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Atomico. The companies didn’t provide details on their individual investments.”

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