Would you eat meat that’s not really meat? One San Francisco-based food startup is hoping that you’ll say yes—and revolutionize the $200 billion U.S. meat industry in the process.
Memphis Meats claims that it’s produced the first chicken grown entirely from self-reproducing cells in a lab. Earlier this week, the company invited a few taste-testers to officially taste their lab-grown chicken and duck, and the Wall Street Journal reports it was a complete success. Most who tasted the “clean meat” said that it was nearly identical to real chicken and duck and that they’d eat it again.
Memphis Meats isn’t the only food-related upstart trying to disrupt the industry. Others, such as Netherlands-based Mosa Meat, have used muscle cells from cows to create the world’s first “clean” burger and meatballs. However, Memphis Meats is focused on chicken and duck right now because they’re two of the most widely consumed proteins in the world.
Animal advocates and scientists say this could have huge ethical and environmental implications. Research suggests that growing food for the world’s increasing population is likely to send greenhouse gas emissions over the safety threshold in the next three decades unless there’s a worldwide push to eat less meat. Then there’s the possibility that the widespread use of antibiotics in meat is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. This is also to say nothing of the fact that most of the animals riased in factory farms are treated, frankly, like shit.
Those in the meat processing industry have also taken note. WSJ reports that last fall, Tyson Foods Inc. launched a venture capital fund to invest in cell-cultured meat growth, and Kevin Myers, the head of product development for Hormel Food Corp. told the WSJ that he thought cultured-meat tech is a “good long-term proposition.”
According to the USDA, U.S. consumers ate an average of 90.9 pounds of chicken apiece last year. While Memphis meats can’t yet produce clean chicken in such large quantities, the company is hoping to begin selling its meat commercially by 2021, so you may see it on your grocery store shelves soon enough.
Source: Men’s Health
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