Lab-grown meat (or “clean” meat) is coming soon. After years of research, companies are now able to grow meat from cells in a lab.
It marks a significant step forward for an industry that aims to create real meat without the huge environmental impact and welfare problems of intensive livestock production.
No lab-based meat products are on sale to the public yet, however a US company has said its chicken nuggets will soon be in a few restaurants.
Is it better for the environment? Yes. Lab-grown meat has a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional meat which requires intensive livestock production.
The taste? It has a muscle-like texture similar to conventional meat, but companies are still working on the taste before it goes on sale.
The cost? Companies are working to make it affordable for everyone when it hits the shelves. They went a long way, as the first lab-grown beefburger, in 2013, cost €250,000!
Is it vegan? So far, a few animal cells are needed to start the cell culture, and these are extracted from a living animal. So no, it’s not vegan.
Is it safe to eat? It is still unclear under which regulation this lab-grown meat would fall. In the U.S. for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture looks after the real meat, dairy, and eggs we currently consume. The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, monitors food additives and products made from human cells. But currently there’s no oversight for vetting the technology used to create most lab-grown food.
As you can see, still many questions to be answered! What do you think? Could this solve the environmental issue around meat production? Would you try it?