A SLOVENIAN start-up company called Juicy Marbles has unveiled a product it describes as “plant-based filet mignon marbled with sunflower oil”

It’s a first for the fake meat industry. While it’s one thing to stuff a coloured, flavoured patty of chemically modified, commodity protein mulch in a bun and pass it off as a burger, mimicking the eating quality of a well marbled fillet steak is a Mission Impossible.

Judging from the pictures, Juicy Marbles has a long way to go in its Shangri-La quest to ape real cuts of meat.

Its efforts to date look like the toy food you get in Fisher-Price play kitchens. Those plastic models of sushi you see in Japan look much more realistic. Try feeding a Juicy Marbles steak to your dog and watch it look up at you with a doleful, disbelieving “Why would you ever expect me to eat that?” expression.

While its competitors have tried meat scaffolding in laboratories, growing cells in petri dishes, and 3D printing, Juicy Marbles ‘breakthrough’ is a “patent-pending machine, known as the Meat-o-Matic Reverse Grinder 9000 to mimic the muscle texture and marbling of meat by aligning and layering fibres from the bottom up”.

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Ingredient-wise it’s a technological triumph of soy and wheat protein, oil, beetroot colouring, and synthetic flavourings.

This phoney steak comes with all the usual virtue-signalling sales patter about it being the solution to our collapsing biosphere, the climate crisis and so on. The true business rationale behind such products is that they are the ultimate ultra-processed foods.

The transformation of food from its natural state, using chemical, biological, and physical processing techniques, is a well-proven method of making more profit.

It hands companies a licence to print money by adding value to the raw material.

There’s only so much you can charge for a real steak. And any money made goes into the pockets of hardworking farmers and butchers, people who actually have a proven track record down the ages of feeding populations nutritious food, not to Silicon Valley techies and nutty professors whose grasp of food is entirely theoretical.

But the corporates and billionaires who seek nothing less than total control of our food chain can’t tolerate that. Any food profit should accrue to them, not be spread amongst the world’s farmers.

Indeed, unless this diet devised by the 1% for the 99% is opposed, small food producers worldwide could soon be casualties of the powerful cabal of interests that the respected environmentalist, Vandana Shiva, has aptly nicknamed the “Poison Cartel”.

From India, Shiva is exposing the top-down, global food agenda being pushed by the Davos Set. The cast here is Bill Gates, who, since his recent land grab, is the US’s largest farmland owner, and a posse of transnational corporations, coordinated by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum. He’s shaping up to be a dead ringer for a Bond baddie. All he needs is Blofeld’s cat to stroke.

Gates poses as a philanthropist when he is actually a 21st century Napoleon. Now obscenely rich through his IT domain, his next frontier is to dominate food production by imposing his techno-solutionist mentality on our precious food supply.

Of course Gates’ view that “all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef” has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he is also an investor in several plant-based food companies, including Beyond Meats and Impossible Foods.

And his patronage of faux meat is but one manifestation of how Gates means to centralise control of global food in his own hands, powered by an alliance of venture capital, science and technology institutions, and compliant states.

I was amused to see his plan receive a spanner in the works last month when 550 civil society organisations, universities and social movements from across the world said they would boycott the first ever UN Food Summit in September and set up a parallel meeting.

They wanted to discuss real solutions: control of local food production by local people, agroecology, and farming systems that respect nature.

But the draft agenda for the summit bore the WEF’s Gatesian hallmark, focusing on advanced versions of approaches that created our problems in the first place: artificial intelligence-controlled farming systems, genetic engineering, high-yield commercial seed varieties, along with intensive farming predicated on GM crops and fossil fuel-dependent synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

By the way, the UN signed a strategic partnership with WEF last year. This is how the Davos Set goes about manufacturing consent, by controlling what should be genuinely representative public bodies.

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Often it’s hard cash that opens regulatory doors. Gates is already the second biggest donor to the World Health Organisation, which quite apart from allowing him to help the world’s sick and needy out of the goodness of his heart, also provides him with access to decision makers who may be responsible for global health policies and, ultimately, what ends up on our plates.

Gates' influence is everywhere. Research carried out by Corporate Europe Observatory using Freedom of Information laws shows that Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has paid 1.3 million euros "for a dialogue with a wide range of European stakeholders on genome editing” organised by Re-Imagine Europa, a European think tank. Genome editing allows scientists to change the DNA of plants and animals.

I believe that what we eat, how it is grown, and who benefits is too important be left in the hands of big business, technocrats, politicians and lobbyists.

Wherever you look, the big food fight of our times is a global elite versus the common good.

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