Imagine a world where the chicken in your nuggets was never alive, where the beef in your burger was never part of a cow. That world is not so far off, thanks to cultured meat.
The US government has just cleared the way for Americans to eat lab-grown meat after authorities deemed a product derived from animal cells safe for human consumption. This is a major step forward in the growing field of cellular agriculture and could have significant implications for the future of food production.
Cultured meat, or cellular agriculture, is meat grown in a lab from animal cells. And it’s not just for sci-fi fans; it’s already being developed by startups, influential organisations, and even traditional meat companies worldwide.
One such company is California-based Upside Foods, which is on a mission to make delicious, affordable, and nutritious cultured meat products that are good for people and the planet. The FDA has formally approved their lab-grown meat product, paving the way for other companies to follow suit and produce similar items.
How is cultured meat made?
Making cultured meat begins with extracting cells from an animal using a small biopsy. The cells are then placed in a medium that provides them with everything they need to grow and multiply. Once the cells have reproduced enough, they are combined to form muscle tissue, which can be used to make products like ground beef or chicken nuggets. The process of growing muscle tissue is similar to how muscles grow inside an animal’s body, except it happens outside of the animal in a controlled environment.
What are the benefits of cultured meat?
Cultured meat has the potential to be more sustainable than conventional meat because it doesn’t require large amounts of land, water, or feed. It also doesn’t produce greenhouse gases like methane (a potent greenhouse gas that cows produce) because no cows are involved in its production. In addition, cultured meat is humane because animals aren’t raised and slaughtered for food; instead, only a small number of cells are used to create – meaning there’s no need to harm animals to enjoy delicious meats like chicken or beef. Finally, cultured meat has the potential to be healthier than conventionally-produced meats because it can be tailored to be lower in saturated fats and higher in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids (which are typically found in fish)
The FDA’s approval of lab-grown meat is a significant development in cellular agriculture and has the potential to revolutionise food production and consumption. While there are still many unanswered questions about this new form of food, it is clear that it represents a significant step forward to ending the suffering of animals and protecting our planet and society.