Artificial meat and chicken will have their way to your restaurants and supermarkets after U.S. regulators approved the public consumption of lab-grown meat and two California companies have jumped on the offer.
The U.S. has okayed the two firms Upside Foods and Good Meat to produce and sell meat and chicken that doesn’t come from real animals or poultry— what’s now being referred to as “cell-cultivated” or “cultured” meat as it emerges from the laboratory and arrives on dinner plates.
The company argues that their lab-grown meat and poultry are real meat, not substitutes like the produce from “Impossible Burger” or from “Beyond Meat“, which are made from plant proteins and other ingredients.
Joinn Biologics, a manufacturing company that works with Good Meat, was also given approval.
The approval was given months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed that products from both companies are safe to eat.
The move was said to be geared towards eliminating harm to animals and drastically reducing the environmental impacts of grazing, growing feed for animals, and animal waste.
“Instead of all of that land and all of that water that’s used to feed all of these animals that are slaughtered, we can do it in a different way,” Josh Tetrick, co-founder and chief executive of Eat Just, which operates Good Meat, said.
How Are Artificial Meat & Chicken Produced
Lab-grown meat is created in steel tanks, using cells that come from a living animal, a fertilized egg or a special bank of stored cells.
Once the cell lines are selected, they’re combined with a broth-like mixture that includes the amino acids, fatty acids, sugars, salts, vitamins, and other elements cells need to grow.
The cells grow very quickly inside the tanks called cultivators. At Upside, muscle and connective tissue cells grow together, forming large sheets. After about three weeks, the sheets of poultry cells are removed from the tanks and formed into cutlets, sausages, or other foods.
Good Meat cells grow into large masses, which are shaped into a range of meat products.
Good Meat already produces lab-grown meat in Singapore – the first country to approve it.
However, Ricardo San Martin, director of the Alt: Meat Lab at the University of California Berkeley said large-scale production will not be possible now because it is much more expensive to produce lab-grown meat than farm animals.
Lab-grown meat and chicken foods will be served in exclusive restaurants for now.
Upside has partnered with Bar Crenn, a San Francisco restaurant, while Good Meat foods will be served at a Washington, D.C., restaurant run by chef and owner Jose Andrés.
The Future Of Lab-Grown Meat
Over 150 companies are focusing on cultivating meat from cells, not only chicken but pork, lamb, fish, and beef, across the world.
According to a survey by Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, half of the people in the United States said will not eat meat grown using cells from animals.
For their reason, most said because “it just sounds weird” and another half said they don’t think it would be safe.
Upside’s Emeryville facility which aims to produce 400,000 pounds per year, currently can produce a maximum of 50,000 pounds of cultivated meat. Good Meat officials did not give a production estimate.
America produces about 50 billion pounds of chicken per year.
According to Sebastian Bohn, who specializes in cell-based foods at CRB, it would take about 10 years before lab-grown meat hit the wider market.
San Martin, however, concluded that cultivated meat might end up being for rich people, and will have little good impact on helping the environment.