Lab-grown meat could eventually make its way to our restaurant tables and grocery stores sooner than we think.
Lab-grown meat or “clean meat” as it is generally referred to, is developed from stem cells taken from animals. Those cells are then multiplied in a lab setting until a sizeable chunk of meat is formed. One of the biggest advantages of eating clean-meat is avoiding the risk of exposure to contaminants that may cross over during the traditional slaughtering process. As lab-meat is technically ‘sterile’, the chances of contracting a food-borne disease is greatly reduced.
A 2017 study found that at least one-third of people are willing to try in vitro meat. Those numbers are up from just 20% back in 2014.
One of the companies working towards producing clean meat says that products could hit the market on a mass scale by the end of this year. Josh Tetrick, CEO of clean meat manufacturer JUST, says that products like chicken nuggets, sausage and foie gras, could hit US and Asian markets as early as the end of the 2018.
Unfortunately, various clean meat manufacturers still have to overcome the problem of the public’s fear of trying the new product. Tetrick says that the lab meat must look and taste like actual meat (or do so even better than the traditional kind) if the manufacturers ever want to stand a chance of succeeding.
With the consumption of meat reaching record highs, it is estimated that clean meat could act as a supplement to help fill the demands that traditional slaughter houses cannot fill in the future.
Some scientists believe that it could also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% to 96%, with similar savings in land usage, and water consumption.