What’s the solution to a chicken and egg production system that wastes energy, pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks, uses routine antibiotics and confines chickens to tiny spaces? The thinking man’s answer is thousands of pasture-based farms, raising chickens in the outdoors. But the techies of the San Francisco Bay area have another idea: create a processed plant replacement for eggs. Funded by prominent Silicon Valley investors and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, startup company Hampton Creek Foods is developing egg-less mayonnaise, omelets, French toast, cookies and cakes. Sounds like a fresh new idea but we have seen this product before: it’s called Egg Beaters and in one famous study, rats fed Egg Beaters died while those fed real eggs thrived (Pediatrics. 1974 Apr;53(4):565-6). Another Gatesbacked company is targeting chicken itself. Beyond Meat sells “chickenfree strips,” which, they claim, have the taste and stringy texture of poultry but are made from plant protein. The company is also working on a product that mimics beef. These food substitutes are already for sale at trendy markets like Whole Foods so be sure to read labels! We’re guessing that the “plant protein” being used is soy.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2014.