Cultured Meat Industry Just Got a Boost

It's like other meat, only without the dead animal
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2022 1:45 PM CDT
Cultured Meat Industry Just Got a Boost
In this photo taken Feb. 15, 2019, lab automation engineer Chigozie Nri prepares nutrients to feed cells, as research director Nicholas Legendre watches, in the laboratory of cultured meat startup New Age Meats, one of about 170 companies worldwide currently developing cultured meats.   (AP Photo/Terry Chea)

Marketing departments still haven’t decided what to call it yet, but there is increasing demand for cultivated (aka cultured, cell-grown, or no-kill) meat, at least in Singapore. That’s where US-based Good Meat has teamed up with food-processing behemoth ADM to build “the world’s largest bioreactors to produce cultivated meat,” according to the Guardian. Eventually, the facility is expected to produce 13,000 tons of cell-grown chicken and beef per year—a teeny sliver of global meat consumption but enough for a proper test run in the marketplace. Singapore is the only country where cultivated meat has regulatory approval, but the USDA and FDA are working on it.

Josh Tetrick, CEO of Eat Just, Good Meat’s parent company, says the bioreactors present “significant” engineering challenges and require major investment, but there’s also big potential to move society away from slaughtered meat. “I think our grandchildren are going to ask us about why we ate meat from slaughtered animals back in 2022,” Tetrick said, saying the product “will enable us to eat meat without all the harm, without bulldozing forests,” and without the enormous carbon and methane footprints produced by the traditional meat industry. Caroline Bushnell of the nonprofit Good Food Institute said it could be a "gamechanger in the race to bring meat grown from cells to restaurants, supermarkets, and dining tables."

Another company, Upside Foods, recently raised $400 million to boost production with help from major companies like Tyson and Cargill. Per CNN, company founder Uma Valeti says these products are “real meat” and the process is "similar to brewing beer, but instead of growing yeast or microbes, we grow animal cells." Scientists start by harvesting real animal cells through biopsy and then give them the nutrients they need to replicate naturally. As for the taste, Upside Foods COO Amy Chen says it was "simultaneously one of the most unremarkable things and one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever eaten. It’s just meat." (More stem cells stories.)

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