Claim that Bill Gates-backed meat causes cancer is false
The claim is based on a misinterpretation of a study that did not test any lab-grown meat products funded by Gates.
Claim: A study found lab-grown meat from a Bill Gates-backed company causes cancer.
Fact: The claim is false and based on a misinterpretation of a study that did not test any lab-grown meat products funded by Gates. The study tested a plant-based meat product backed by Gates but found no link to cancer.
On March 13 2023, the Instagram account of Paperazzi Magazine claimed in a post that a study found that eating lab-grown meat from a Bill Gates-backed company causes cancer. The post cites an article titled “Study: Bill Gates’ Lab Grown Meat Causes Cancer in Humans” published by the American entertainment and news website Newspunch.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check investigated and found the claim to be false and based on a misinterpretation of studies that did not test Bill Gates-backed alternative meat products or find any link between them and cancer.
Gates has invested in Upside Foods, a lab-grown meat startup. However, the News Punch article does not provide evidence that the company’s meat causes cancer. Several companies are using what are called immortalised cells, which are, technically speaking, precancerous and can be fully cancerous in some cases. Despite this, prominent cancer researchers say that it’s impossible for people who eat them to get cancer from them or for the cells to replicate inside people at all.
The Newspunch article also references studies commissioned by Impossible Foods that support the safety of an ingredient in its plant-based meat. Gates also backs this company, which produces plant-based meat rather than lab-grown meat.
The studies that the article mentioned were conducted to assess the safety of soy leghemoglobin, a molecule that gives plant-based meat its texture. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe ingredient. The studies found no link between cancer and soy leghemoglobin in animals or humans.
Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 8-day period since 13 March 2023 to 20 March 2023 using the following search terms:
- “Bill Gates” “meat” “cancer”
Conclusion: The claim that Bill Gates-backed lab-grown meat causes cancer is false. There is no evidence that lab-grown meat causes cancer. The article that made the claim did not provide any scientific sources to support it. It only cited studies from a different company that produces plant-based meat, not lab-grown meat.