Liz Specht Profile picture
VP of Science & Technology @GoodFoodInst. Supporting alternative proteins for a sustainable food future. Views my own. ⭕️
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May 6 4 tweets 1 min read
Feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my team @GoodFoodInst. We're pulling together our first State of the Science snapshot (to be published every 4mo) in alt proteins & my eyes are welling up at how fast this field is starting to move. This wasn't guaranteed to happen. Everyone on our Science & Technology team, down to a person, is relentlessly driven to find the highest-impact ways of accelerating the alternative protein field through generating open-access knowledge, mobilizing research funding, and building the talent & training ecosystem.
Feb 24 4 tweets 2 min read
This strain "... is closely related to an Asian strain that has infected hundreds of people since 2003, mostly those who had worked with infected poultry. That virus does not spread efficiently among humans, but it is extremely deadly, with a fatality rate of 60 percent..." "For a growing number of scientists, the real threat is the nation’s industrialized system of meat and dairy production, with its reliance on genetically identical creatures packed by the thousands inside huge confinement sheds."
Jan 24 19 tweets 6 min read
*New analysis!* “Plant-based meat: Anticipating 2030 production requirements” examines raw materials, processing capacity, infrastructure, & investment required for #plantbasedmeat to hit 6% share of the global meat market by 2030. Insights + report/webinar links below. 1/19 Several market analyses have made bold predictions about the growth of the #alternativeprotein industry, but we wanted to dig deeper to find out what would be required on the supply side to hit these ambitious growth targets. @goodfoodinst’s new analysis is eye-opening. 2/19
Jan 4 4 tweets 2 min read
Two HUGE nationwide fast food launches of plant-based meat announced this week at major chains, including a big reversal from one CEO.

1) KFC rolling out Beyond Meat plant-based chicken options nationwide next Monday, after first trialing them in 2019.
cnbc.com/2022/01/04/kfc… 2) Chipotle launched a plant-based chorizo option nationwide earlier this week—its first new meatless protein option since adding tofu-based sofritas in 2014. cnbc.com/2022/01/03/chi…
Dec 21, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
We have TWO full-time openings on my team at @GoodFoodInst, both working to mobilize research funding toward the highest-impact areas to advance alternative proteins. (1/4)
gfi.org/careers/ #1: A program manager to run our ~$5M/year Research Grant Program. With a grantee community 70+ researchers strong, this program has a catalytic impact on the field. Looking for someone w/ grant program management experience to take it to the next level. gfi.org/job/?gh_jid=57…
Oct 19, 2021 17 tweets 4 min read
Today's must-read article, with some selected (highly alarming) quotes and my 2 cents below on why we can't afford NOT to invest in alternative protein R&D and infrastructure:
theguardian.com/environment/20… "Eight or more variants of avian flu, all of which are able to infect and kill humans and are potentially more severe than Covid-19, now regularly rattle around the world’s factory farms barely noticed by governments."
Sep 8, 2021 14 tweets 7 min read
Ever wonder which research labs are working on #alternativeprotein projects? Looking to find a potential collaborator or co-founder to launch your idea? Thinking about making a career leap into this field?

🧵 Here are a few resources that researchers should know about: The Research Labs Database catalogues labs that have active projects underway to develop non-proprietary technologies and knowledge to advance the #alternativeprotein field.
gfi.org/resource/resea…
Aug 21, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
This is fascinating. Check out the author affiliations on this new paper: Department of Livestock Products Technology, Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Food Security, Division of Veterinary Medicine, etc., all from India and Malaysia. (1/4)
ejast.org/archive/view_a… From the abstract: "To realize any perceivable change in various socio-economic and environmental spheres, the technology should be commercialized and should be cost-effective as conventional meat and widely accepted among consumers." (2/4)
May 19, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
.@jan_dutkiewicz strikes again with another diligently referenced, methodical parsing of the contradictions among what's touted and what's actually possible *at scale* in meat sustainability.

Provocative headline but a detailed and thoughtful piece.
newrepublic.com/article/162441… The nuance I'll add (which Jan covers but may not be apparent from a glance at the thumbnail) is that I think we actually *can* have our cake (meat) and eat it too if we think bigger — beyond incremental improvements, to taking the animal out of the equation altogether.
Dec 15, 2020 7 tweets 3 min read
Quick personal update: I'm delighted to announce that today I'm taking the baton from @orthostichy to step into the role of director of our Science & Technology team at @GoodFoodInst. 1/6 David is off to start an exciting new endeavor in the alternative protein realm (I can't spill any beans for him!), and I'm honored to carry forward the strategic and collaborative ethos he embedded in our team and our work. 2/6
Dec 7, 2020 5 tweets 3 min read
So many great job openings in alternative proteins right now.

Highlighting a few, starting w/ open role on my team for a plant-based senior scientist (also able to hire at research manager level with prior project management & supervisory experience).
gfi.org/jobs?gh_jid=49… If you're based in Europe and passionate about guiding strategy for expanding alt protein R&D, GFI-Europe's Science & Technology Manager might be your next dream job!
gfi.org/affiliatejobs/…
Nov 21, 2020 5 tweets 3 min read
As we close out a fearsome week of the #covid19 pandemic and also #WorldAntimicrobialAwarenessWeek, the thread below is more relevant than ever.

I hope we've learned from all this that when public health experts alert us to ticking time bombs like these, we should *listen*up*. On @WHO's Food Safety Day, my colleague @orthostichy summarized the link between animal agriculture and #antimicrobialresistance.

All signs point to a public health crisis on the horizon — one that won't be solved with a "quick fix" like a vaccine. gfi.org/food-safety-day
Sep 25, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
Birds that we raise by the tens of billions for meat and eggs are among the most abused animals on the planet.

But cognitively, they are far more similar to mammals (and therefore to us) than was previously appreciated. From earlier this week:
vox.com/future-perfect…
Jun 30, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
While the main point of this article is distressing to me, I feel there's also an underappreciated point here regarding positivity rates. [short thread]
theatlantic.com/science/archiv… Positivity rates (# positive results versus # of total tests) have been so important for determining how much of a spike in caseload is truly indicative of higher viral spread versus merely a reflection of more testing.

Positivity rates now exceed 10% in many states. 2/n
May 29, 2020 8 tweets 4 min read
@LanceEllisor Thank you for approaching this question with kindness rather than antagonism. I don't feel we're out of the woods yet for avoiding a healthcare crush (especially considering recent instability), but happy to comment on why this didn't hit as early as it could have. @LanceEllisor The key thing that changed between March 6 and today is... everything. When I wrote this thread, it was meant to illustrate why America needed to wake up to what was coming. On March 6, there was virtually no discussion of this at all, much less any intervention happening. Image
May 29, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
Consumer insights from Datassentials on how consumers feel about the safety of their meat amidst Covid-19, and my thoughts on whether these sentiments are merited. [short thread] Asked whether slaughterhouse workers with Covid-19 made them nervous about meat safety, >60% of consumers said yes, though about half of those would continue eating it.

But nearly 50% of GenZ & 40% of millennials are eating less meat for this reason.
datassential.com/wp-content/upl…
May 15, 2020 10 tweets 2 min read
There has been so much happening this week at the nexus of COVID-19, the meat industry, & animal ag as a whole that it's hard to distill which insights & quotes to share.

What's resoundingly clear is that this disruption is rattling our current protein paradigm to its core. 1/n I'll spotlight this @voxdotcom article, which is long but well worth it for responses it provides to the common retorts. Any simplified, sound-biteable angle to this story is sure to miss a lot. As usual, I'll pull some favorite quotes in this thread. 2/n
vox.com/recode/2020/5/…
May 7, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
This problem isn't going away anytime soon.

"Industry experts, analysts and a union that represents meatpacking plant workers say challenges with the country’s meat supply chain will likely linger as long as the pandemic does." 1/6
cnbc.com/2020/05/07/her… “Until the world gets its arms around coronavirus, this is the model we’re going to have to work under — or we’re going to sacrifice these humans for the sake of a cheeseburger." - Mark Lauritsen, United Food and Commercial Workers 2/6
Apr 28, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
Many of us are sharing the strange experience of a 2020 birthday in lock-down.

For mine today, if you're fortunate enough to have financial stability in this crisis, I'd be deeply grateful if you made a small donation in my honor to @GoodFoodInst.

gfi.org/donate If you're compelled by my posts about the connection btw animal farming and zoonotic risks, the sustainability benefits of alt proteins, or even the notion of a more resilient and abundant food system, I believe there is no faster path toward a brighter future than via alt prots.
Apr 25, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
"The use of antibiotics anywhere contributes to the emergence of resistance everywhere." 💯

But remember that >70% of all antibiotics globally are administered to farmed animals, the vast majority *not* for acute treatment but at sub-therapeutic levels.
wired.com/story/covid-19… While it is absolutely troubling that physicians are having to relax their standards for antibiotic stewardship in this crisis, the uptick in human use of antibiotics due to COVID is a drop in the bucket relative to their chronic use levels in farmed animals as growth promoters.
Apr 23, 2020 8 tweets 3 min read
Today's eye-opening read is so full of revelations that it's hard to know which quote to pull first. I'll post a few in the thread below.

Hard-hitting reporting from @USATODAY & @IMidwest finds that the slaughterhouse situation is worse than we thought.
usatoday.com/in-depth/news/… From Nebraska's chief medical officer: "Initially our concern was long-term care facilities... If there's one thing that might keep me up at night, it's the meat processing plants and the manufacturing plants." 2/