How do you Define Real?

I understand how some foods started to use Real in their name … in part because of the competition from look-alike “FAKE” substitutes.  You may not realize the subtle changes in processed cheese where the whey left over from making REAL cheese is now manufactured into CHEESE FOOD as it is called.

In this case, it is a very clever way of extending the food chain since whey is so difficult to dispose of.  And, most of us quickly learn that cheese food is a far cry from the flavor and texture of real cheese.  Perhaps the FDA should be doing more to educate us on this, but that is not my point.  Now we have an entirely new category of food that is “simulating” the process by which it normally occurs, but is no longer a natural biologic product.

Here is the announcement from Food Weekly, a publication of

“Real milk, but without the cow, is what companies want. Food businesses from across the globe invested in and partnered with startups using precision fermentation technology to manufacture dairy from microflora. Rapidly reproducing microscopic fungi with incorporated whey or casein genes produce a protein genetically identical to that milked from cows.

The deals included ADM’s partnership with California-based New Culture, a startup developing animal-free mozzarella cheese. The two companies aim to partner on product development and commercialization services to approach a commercial mozzarella launch in 2023.

Perfect Day is another big player in this field. After bringing an animal-free chocolate bar to market with Mars in June, Nestlé jumped on the bandwagon. The Consumer Packaged Goods giant works toward launching chocolate and plain milk alternatives in the coming months that draw on Perfect Day’s dairy from precision fermentation. With this move, Nestlé works toward meeting growing consumer demand for alternative dairy products.

Lastly, New Zealand’s Fonterra, the world’s sixth-largest dairy company supplying 30 percent of global dairy, has decided to heat up the playing field. It launched its own precision fermentation dairy startup in collaboration with the Dutch bioscience company DSM, aiming to get its share of the market and stay on top of leading innovation and science.”

Really?  Real milk without the cow?  Do we really think this is an identical twin?  I am alarmed that we rush to solutions like this without due diligence.  Haven’t we learned anything from cigarette substitutes at all?  Don’t we remember Olestra?  How many times have we seen artificial sweeteners come and go with almost no coverage of their damaging effects?  Are we not aware of the dangers of corn based sweeteners that are ravaging our health?

We really need to be a bit more careful, don’t you think?

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