In the laboratory, the petri dish milk will replicate the formula of the real thing, it will retain the same taste and nutritional benefits of cow milk, says Perumal Gandhi, co-founder of the synthetic dairy product call Muufri (pronounced Moo-free) in San Francisco, California.
Muufri is a new company making better dairy products that everyone can afford without the guilt of being inhumane and being able to get the nutrition of regular milk. The solution is simple: six key proteins for sturcture and function, eight key fatty acids for flavor and richness. The milk is produced using the same principles of biotechnology behind vegan products. The company is able to choose what goes into their product, for example leaving out lactose which is indigestible by 75% of adults, and they can choose to leave out bad cholesterol to make it a healthier option. The product will be made with the same precision as medicines so they’ll be free of all bacteria. You’ll get great tasting milk with a long shelf life and no need for pasteurization. Instead of using cashews and almonds to imitate the curdiness of the milk like some vegan cheese makers do, Muufri is bioengineering yeast to produce authentic milk proteins, which will give it the same taste and nutritional values.
Gandhi and Muufri co-founder Ryan Pandya are both vegans who view the livestock industry’s practices as inhumane. Cows are kept in crowded barns, their horns are removed to keep them from injuring themselves or farmworkers, their tails are often docked so that workers won’t get feces laden smack in the face, and they’re given growth hormones and antibiotics. Also, cows are artificially inseminated every year so they’ll keep producing milk. According to Pandya “There are just so many problems with the food industry and the way to address those problems with inefficiency is to remove animals from the equation as much as we can.”
Would consumers rather get milk from cows or from genetically engineered yeast? Is the cow going to become obsolete? The goal is to produce a product that is as good as milk and cheaper, eventhough initially it may cost twice as much. The team is aiming for a marketable product by the summer of 2015. Muufri was founded in May of 2014.