For the last decade or so, companies and laboratories have been working to create cultivated meat. This new, science-driven approach to meat is fascinating, but has remained a sidelined science project, until now.
With full USDA approval for lab-grown chicken meat, companies like Upside Foods and Good Meat plan to start producing their products for consumers, meaning you too could have the choice of cultured meat for your meal.
What is cultured meat? Imagine animal cells, cultured in a lab, creating larger and larger muscle tissue, until there is enough to form into food.
From The NY Times:
“Lab-grown meat begins with cells taken from an animal. Those cells are then fed water and salt and nutrients like amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The cells then multiply in large tanks called cultivators or bioreactors. When harvested, the product is essentially minced meat, which is then formed into patties, sausage or fillets. The meat contains no bones, feathers, beaks or hooves and does not need to be slaughtered.”
The idea is that you can eat animal protein without slaughtering animals, and without the carbon footprint of raising chickens, beef, etc. For us as humans to continue eating meat, our production and environmental practices will need to shift, and many think that lab-grown meat is a big part of that. Currently, worldwide, and estimated 70 billion chicken are killed every year for meat, and their living conditions and environmental impact are known to be bad for the world.
With consumer approval in the United States, it begs the question, what does it taste like, and will consumers start flocking to lab-grown meat?
Read more about the process and approval here.