Lab Grown Meat
The pros and cons of lab-cultured meat products
January 18, 2017
Beef (and milk) without cows, eggs without hens. Lab grown meat, also called synthetic meat, cultured meat, clean meat, and in vitro meat is meat grown in a laboratory instead of inside animals. The process of developing cultured meat involves taking muscle cells from a living organism and applying a protein that promotes tissue growth. Once this process has been started, it would be theoretically possible to continue producing meat indefinitely without introducing new cells. It is a form of cellular agriculture.
Cultured meat is produced using many of the same tissue engineering techniques traditionally used in regenerative medicine. Due to technical challenges associated with scaling and cost-reduction, cultured meat has not yet been commercialized. The first cultured beef burger patty, created by Dr. Mark Post at Maastricht University, was eaten at a demonstration for the press in London in August 2013.
Pros of Lab Grown Meat
- Lab-grown meat could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributed by livestock farming .
- Omega-3 fatty acids could be added to cultured meat as a health bonus.
- Reduced exposure to artificial growth hormones, pesticides and fungicides.
- Artificial meat stops cruelty to animals.
Cons of Lab Grown Meat
- Slow to grow. Although it is not very difficult to make stem cells divide, for meat production they must divide at a quick pace.
- The cost of producing lab-grown meat is high.
- Consumer acceptance - cultured meat has been described as 'Frankenmeat'.
- The lack of fat and bone. May not taste the same or have the same texture.