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Philip Lymbery delights the crowd

by breaking his

40-year self-imposed ban

on eating meat!

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When Compassion in World Farming CEO, Philip Lymbery accepted an invitation from pioneering start-up Newform Foods to sample its cultivated lamb meatballs, he was unsure at first. After all, it had been nearly 41 years since anything remotely meaty had passed his lips.

But the fact that a very happy, healthy sheep, still enjoying life at the Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary in the Western Cape, would provide the meatball, compelled him to break his meat-fast for the sake, literally, of farmed animals.


The special tasting event was hosted in Cape Town on the 30th of April 2024 by Brett Thompson and Tasneem Karodia, co-Founders of Newform Foods. Said Brett: “It was truly an honour to make it possible for Philip Lymbery to eat meat, Newform Foods lamb, for the first time in 40 years! I wonder how the next 40 years will look.”


After savouring the meatball, Philip gave his verdict: ‘remarkable’, ‘unremarkable’, ‘lovely’, ‘for me a little bit strange’, but... ‘I am so pleased I have tasted the future!’

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Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, together with Newform Foods’ COO Tasneem Karodia and, CEO Brett Thompson

Author of four internationally acclaimed books warning of the pending food, climate, and environmental catastrophes fueled by factory farming, Philip’s latest authorship is as co-editor of Cultivated Meat - to secure our future, and it is the publication of this book that prompted Brett Thompson to invite Philip to a ‘tasting’.

“We’ve always been massive fans of Phil and his work in animal advocacy. We knew when we developed a lamb product that getting him to try it would be the ultimate stamp of approval,” he said.


Addressing the crowd of cultivated meat enthusiasts, Philip said: "Our food system is broken. We are eating our way to extinction, taking other species and the planet with us. At the moment we are exceeding planetary boundaries. Scientists tell us that we need to reduce global meat consumption by about half. We’ve got to do things differently. We’ve got to rethink protein. Cultivated meat offers the promise of helping to transform our food system to one that is healthier, more humane, more sustainable, and it can play an important role in closing down factory farms.”


He added that while veganism was now well-known and plant-based proteins were rising in prominence, nevertheless “we live in a society that wants to eat meat and that’s where cultivated meat comes in. I’m told that a simple sample of stem cells cultivated in a bioreactor can create 80 000 (regular) burgers.


“True, there are production barriers to cross, but the more we normalise cultivated meat in society, the more we can make it happen. Experts suggest that cultivated meat will be on the market within the near future.”

Vegan chef Norah Hudson, a trustee of the Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary which is home to Pecorino, the sheep who donated his cells for Philip’s meatball, also attended the event.


Said Norah: “Today I’m going to go back to the sanctuary and look little Pecorino in the eye and say ‘Pecorino, you taste like heaven and I am so happy that I can share this information with you as a living being.’”

Pecorino was rescued as a new-born lamb next to the dead body of his mother just before Christmas in 2022. It wasn’t clear why she had died, but Pecorino fortunately found himself in the care of the Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary. He grew into a healthy young lamb and became a prime candidate for cell extraction for Newform Foods.

Nicola Vernon, founder of the sanctuary, saw an opportunity for this when Pecorino was to be anaesthetised for sterilisation.


She explained: “Our sanctuary vet Dr Francois Viljoen extracted a cluster of cells, no bigger than a peppercorn, from his shoulder muscle. The extraction leaves a tiny mark with just one soluble stitch to hold it together while it heals. Today, Pecorino is a beautiful strong healthy sheep with a band of close friends who are always looking for some mischief to get up to.”

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About Newform Foods:

Newform Foods is a foodtech company on a mission to bring cultivated meat to mainstream markets. Their continent spanning research and development platform helps food producers and retailers develop and scale cultivated meat products at a significantly lower cost to industry benchmarks. Now companies can go from zero to prototype and prototype to pilot faster and more affordably than ever.

For more information contact:  or

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