The Good Food Institute
This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. (August 2017)
The Good Food Institute (GFI) is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs as well as clean meat (also known as cultured meat and cell-based meat), as alternatives to the products of conventional animal agriculture. The organization launched in February 2016 with the vision of creating a healthy, humane, and sustainable food supply. GFI targets scientists, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to promote plant-based products and cellular agriculture.
Among GFI's 31 advisors are entrepreneurs, food industry experts, CEOs, scientists, authors, and financial advisors, including:
- Suzy Welch, American author, television commentator, business journalist, and public speaker
- Uma Valeti, M.D., CEO and co-founder of Memphis Meats
- Mark Post, M.D., Ph.D., professor at Maastricht University who produced the first "clean meat" hamburger, which was funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin
- Josh Balk, Hampton Creek co-founder
- Ryan Bethencourt, IndieBio co-founder
- Derek Sarno, senior global executive chef of Whole Foods Market
GFI scientists have authored numerous publications on plant-based and cell-based meat, including:
- Meat by the Molecule: Making Meat with Plants and Cells (The Biochemist) 
- A scientific overview of plant-based and cell-based meat
- Is the Future of Meat Animal Free (Food Technology) 
- A review of advances in cell culture technology and the path to commercialization for cell-based meat
- Opportunities for Applying Biomedical Production and Manufacturing Methods to the Development of the Clean Meat Industry (Biochemical Engineering Journal) 
- A discussion of new applications of current biomedical products and manufacturing methods for cell-based meat
- Addressing Global Protein Demand Through Diversification and Innovation: An Introduction to Plant-Based and Clean Meat (Encyclopedia of Food Chemistry) 
- An introductory chapter on development and production of plant-based and cell-based meat as sustainable protein sources
- An Ocean of Opportunity: Plant-based and Clean Seafood for Sustainable Oceans without Sacrifice 
- An exploration of approaches for capitalizing on plant-based and cell-based seafood development opportunities
- An Analysis of Culture Medium Costs and Production Volumes for Cell-Based Meat 
- An in-depth analysis of the economic viability of cell-based meat and opportunities for achieving price parity with conventional meat
- Cellular Agriculture: An Extension of Common Production Methods for Food 
- A discussion of the convergence between common methods of protein production and cellular agriculture
- Plant-based Egg Alternatives: Optimizing for Functional Properties and Applications 
- An assessment of the functional properties of eggs and opportunities to address these needs with novel plant-based sources
- Meat’s Sustainability Problem 
- An overview of the environmental challenges associated with conventional animal agriculture
- Growing Meat Sustainably: The Clean Meat Revolution 
- A summary of the sustainability advantages of clean meat production at scale compared to conventional animal agriculture
Against the FDA
In June 2016, GFI filed a lawsuit in a D.C. federal court demanding that the FDA turn over all records related to its regulation of the term "soy milk," after the agency failed to respond to several Freedom of Information Act requests GFI submitted in April 2016. According to Politico's Morning Agriculture report, GFI wants the FDA to formally "allow the use of the term 'soy milk,' and says the agency's inconsistency on the matter has led to 'consumer confusion and an uneven competitive landscape.'"
Against the USDA
After filing three Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain documents from the USDA related to its open investigation of the American Egg Board's allegedly anti-competitive actions against egg-free Mayo company, Hampton Creek, GFI sued the agency on Monday, August 8, 2016, for failing to respond to the requests in full. According to an article on Vice Motherboard, GFI filed FOIA requests in December for meeting minutes and budgetary documents from the Egg Board, but was only given access to documents that had already been made public.
Against the State of Missouri
In August 2018, GFI, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, and Tofurky filed a civil rights action against the state of Missouri, challenging a law that prohibits “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Violating the statute is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by jail terms of up to one year, a fine up to $1,000, or both. GFI argued that this law infringes on freedom of speech and is anticompetitive, citing Missouri legislator Senator Sandy Crawford’s comment: “We wanted to protect our cattlemen in Missouri and protect our beef brand.”
Open Philanthropy Project grant
In September 2016, the Open Philanthropy Project (OPP) awarded GFI a $1,000,000 grant for general support. The grant was made under OPP's farm animal welfare effort, which is one of their major focus areas given the large number of farmed animals subject to considerable suffering.
GFI has ties with the effective altruism (EA) movement, as helping farmed animals is one of EA's major cause areas. GFI was founded as a sister project of Mercy for Animals, one of EA organization Animal Charity Evaluators' top charities, and GFI Executive Director Bruce Friedrich spoke on EA Global 2016's panel on "Rethinking Meat and the End of Factory Farming". In 2016, effective altruist Michael Dickens wrote an essay explaining his decision to donate $20,000 to GFI, arguing it was among the most promising targets for donors interested in maximizing impact.
Animal Charity Evaluators review
In November 2016, Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) named GFI as one of its Top Charities in its annual animal charity recommendations. The ACE review lists GFI's strengths as its potential to decrease demand for animal products—possibly much more rapidly than moral arguments—and the focus of GFI's leadership on effectiveness. Their weaknesses, according to ACE, include its short track record, the difficulty of developing cost-competitive "clean meat", and the possible difficulties with finding and hiring the right staff.
ACE estimates that GFI could use $500,000 to $1 million more in 2017 than it did in 2016. These funds would likely go to filling their operating reserve and hiring new staff.
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