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Fake milk is real news, as synthetic alternatives threaten traditional dairy farms

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Silicon Valley-based Perfect Day Foods says its animal-free milk is better for the environment and healthier than cow’s milk because it’s lactose-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, gluten-free and cholesterol-free.

CASSIE SLANE: ‘The old question “Got milk?” has a complicated answer these days, because it all depends on what you mean by “milk”… Perfect Day Foods is one company creating a synthetic milk alternative… The animal-free dairy product is made in a lab using genetically engineered yeast programmed with DNA to produce the same proteins found in cow’s milk… Silicon Valley-based Perfect Day Foods says its animal-free milk is better for the environment and healthier than cow’s milk because it’s lactose-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, gluten-free and cholesterol-free. The company also claims the product tastes more like milk than other plant-based milk alternatives…

While some vegan consumers may be excited about the new alternatives coming to the market, dairy farmers aren’t… The U.S. dairy industry has been under extreme pressure recently, experiencing a sales decline since 2014, which is expected to continue until 2020, according to a report by Mintel. As a result, dairy farms have been closing in record numbers. In 1970 there were nearly 650,000 dairy farms in the U.S., but just 40,219 remained at the end of 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…

Mike Eby, Chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization,… is worried Perfect Day’s product is so similar to milk’s composition that it could look and be labeled like milk produced from a cow, making it difficult for a consumer to decipher… “If [processors] are successful in considering Perfect Day as milk, they [could] use Perfect Day to make ice cream or yogurt or cheese,” Eby said. “And the worst part about it would be that it wouldn’t be labeled as such. No one would know the difference and they would actually claim there is no scientific difference”…

Perfect Day Foods [recently] announced it had raised $34.75 million, bringing its total fundraising so far to $60 million. The company received $24.7 million in investments last year, making its product one of the most-backed early-stage food tech startups ever. Lab-grown meat companies such as Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies have garnered the interest of billionaire investors such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, and food giants Tyson Foods and Cargill’. SOURCE…