Can You Beat Your Meat?

We have the meats. But they’re not where you think they’d be. Instead of being grown in animals, these meats are being grown in a lab. From a consumer perspective, until now, lab grown meat has been all sizzle and no steak, but that’s about to change, at least when it comes to chicken. MIT Tech Review: After years of research and development, Two companies can now sell lab-grown chicken in the US, which will lead us toward an answer to one of society’s chicken and egg questions: What are the biggest obstacles standing in the way of lab grown meat companies that hope to bring home the bacon? Government approvals or consumers being willing to consume. They now have the former, so we should start learning about the latter soon, which brings us to the question of how the sausage is made. It isn’t. Yet. But the chicken is: “Most meat alternatives on the market today are made using plants. Upside Foods, Eat Just, and other cultivated-meat companies instead make products using animal cells that are grown in bioreactors. Tissue samples from living animals are isolated and their cells grown in a lab. As those cells grow and multiply, they can be processed into food.” Lab grown meat has a couple big potential upsides: Less animal killing and more climate saving. “Animal agriculture makes up nearly 15% of human-caused global greenhouse-gas emissions.” The products will first be sold in just a few restaurants, but this is a massive step towards cell-grown meat being in grocery stores. And like everything else, this will inevitably lead to a culture war. There are billions of chickens and millions of cattle who hope we can squash that beef.

+ “Yes, it’s strange to think of eating a totally new kind of meat — chicken that doesn’t come from a chicken, meat that will be sold as ‘cell-cultivated’ … But it’s also interesting (and exciting!) to taste test the first offerings of a new era in meat production, which aims to eliminate harm to billions of animals slaughtered for food — and to dramatically reduce the environmental effects of grazing, growing feed for those animals and dealing with their animal waste.” Is it chicken? Here’s how the first bite of ‘cell-cultivated’ meat tastes.

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