The Truth About Synthetic Milk: What’s Inside That Has Never Been Consumed or Safety Tested - Moms Across America

The Truth About Synthetic Milk: What’s Inside That Has Never Been Consumed or Safety Tested

The great American — and global reaching — experiment with lab-created “food” continues to expand with the introduction of fake milk products currently used by more than a dozen food brands distributed by major retailers across the country. But recent testing by the Health Research Institute (HRI) found 92 unknown compounds and significant nutrient deficiencies in one of these brands, Bored Cow’s synthetic milk — produced from a “form of genetic engineering.” Over a dozen companies use similar formulations in products like cream cheese, smoothies and ice cream. Bored Cow, is offering a synthetic whey protein, coined "ProFerm," courtesy of biotech firm, Perfect Day. This synthetic protein is dubbed genetically modified "microflora."

Proponents of Bored Cow's innovation tout it as an "animal-free" milk alternative, crafted from "real milk protein through fermentation." However, HRI's scrutiny, employing mass spectrometry, casts doubt over these claims. Mass spectrometry is an analytical tool used for measuring the mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of one or more molecules present in a sample. The analysis of Bored Cow's flagship "original" flavor milk uncovered a plethora of unknown compounds, in addition to a toxic fungicide.

The purpose of the toxic fungicide is to kill the fungus used to grow the milk, but according to Chief Scientist and CEO of HRI, John Fagan, Ph.D., it’s apparently not effective in doing so. That means that some of the fungus could still be alive when we humans drink it- and one can imagine that not much good can come from a fungus potentially growing in our bodies. We don’t know what this means for short term or long term health. Fungus milk consumption is far from the only unfortunate unknown in this saga, however. The implications of the fungus and the 92 additional compounds reintroduced into the ground water (through sewage) for soil health, marinelife, and environmental eco systems is completely unknown.

Unknown environmental and health consequences coupled with the absence of regulation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ringing alarm bells for scientists like Fagan, who questioned the safety of these dozens of compounds, never before consumed by humans, and how these products lack critical nutrients found in natural products. Preliminary findings from HRI's investigation also point to glaring disparities between synthetic and natural milk, notably in essential micronutrient content.

Drawing parallels with Italy's recent prohibition of synthetically-produced meat, Fagan underscored the importance of comprehensive safety assessments for novel food products:

In the synbio “milk,” we found 92 chemical by-products of the synbio fermentation process. These compounds are currently unknown to science. They have not been characterized chemically or biologically and have not been tested for safety. Furthermore, they have no history of safe use in food. This lack of science-based information regarding these compounds makes it necessary for them to be carefully tested for safety before a product containing them is offered as food in the marketplace.

Fagan specifically expressed apprehension over the presence of a particular fungicide, Benthiavalicarb-isopropyl, in Bored Cow's samples, attributing its inclusion to production processes. “Benthiavalicarb-isopropyl has been classified as a carcinogen by the EPA and restrictions have been placed on the levels of this compound that can be consumed daily,” said Fagan. The levels present in the synbio milk are sufficient to raise concerns regarding the safety of this product, especially, according to Fagan, for children and for other vulnerable populations.

HRI's comparative analysis between natural milk and its synbio counterpart also revealed stark differences in nutrient composition. Natural milk, sourced from grass-fed cows, boasted an array of vital nutrients absent or significantly depleted in synthetic milk. From vitamin B2 to omega-3 fatty acids, the disparity was conspicuous – challenging assertions touted by synthetic milk proponents. Nutrient deficiencies may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but research is building to show the serious mental health implications of missing nutrients in any amount of food consumed, especially vitamin Bs.

The proliferation of synthetic dairy products, similar to fake meat products, are marketed under the guise of "precision fermentation," which raises ethical and safety concerns as well. While industry stakeholders champion this approach as an eco-conscious alternative, it constitutes a form of genetic engineering, necessitating robust regulatory oversight because the process is anything but precise.

Groups like GMO/Toxin Free USA advocate for transparent labeling and rigorous safety assessments for lab milk products. Their scrutiny has spotlighted numerous brands incorporating synthetic milk across diverse product lines, urging consumers to exercise vigilance.


As corporate behemoths forge partnerships with synthetic milk producers, the ethical dilemma deepens, raising questions about corporate responsibility and consumer welfare in an increasingly profit-driven market that seems to sacrifice human health at every turn. Ken Roseboro, renowned for his editorial work at The Organic & Non-GMO Report, has highlighted the substantial financial backing synthetic dairy ventures receive, juxtaposed against their products' lack of compliance with non-GMO standards. Synbio milk has partnered with Nestle, Mars, General Mills, and more.

Roseboro emphasized that synbio products do not align with non-GMO criteria, a stance supported by the Non-GMO Project. Despite industry assertions that “precision fermentation” relies on natural processes, the underlying genetic engineering renders these products ineligible for non-GMO verification. Perfect Day asserts that its ProFerm product is devoid of GMOs, a claim disputed by critics like John Fagan, who doubt the feasibility of completely eliminating GMO DNA during processing. “The Federal GMO labeling law allows GMOs to avoid labeling if genetically engineered DNA is not present in the product, explains Fagan. Perfect Day claims that their product is free from GMO DNA and therefore that they do not have to label it as genetically engineered (Bioengineered). “But that doesn’t prove that their product is non-GMO,” says Fagan. The fact that it is produced using fermented genetically engineered fungus cells is clear evidence that it is a GMO. Furthermore, says Fagan, “they have presented no scientific evidence that the product is free from GMO DNA.”

These products have a similar bottom line when staking a claim to be vegan-friendly and even earth-friendly. Vegan products don’t involve animals in any part of the development process, but the creation of synbio dairy proteins used blood drawn from a cow to map its genome. Likewise, according to Fagan, the carbon footprint is not as claimed. “The main input for fermentation is sugar — and they’re using high fructose corn syrup, a product that is part of an extractive agriculture system that definitely generates much more carbon than it sequesters.” The calculations that Perfect Day publicizes completely ignore the carbon footprint of the agricultural processes that create the fermentation.

“So in fact, although they say they’re carbon-neutral or carbon-negative, when you look at the whole picture, they are generating serious amounts of greenhouse gasses and wasting water,” Fagan added, painting a less rosy picture of the product's ecological impact than the fancy corporate marketing would have it.

Roseboro criticized the industry's portrayal of precision fermentation as misleading, given the multitude of unknown compounds detected in Perfect Day's protein. This sentiment is shared by the Non-GMO Project, which decried the performative nature of U.S. GMO regulation, highlighting the absence of independent, long-term safety testing for synbio milk.

In light of these revelations, we at Moms Across America, urge consumers to exercise caution and demand transparency from synthetic dairy producers and the agencies tasked with regulating them. The absence of rigorous safety testing, coupled with ethical ambiguities, underscores the importance of informed decision-making in navigating the synthetic food landscape. It’s more important than ever to carefully source our food through local, transparent, regenerative and organic farmers.

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  • angela braden
    published this page in Blog 2024-02-22 23:32:52 -0500

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