"Clean Meat" is Getting Closer to Reality & It Will be a Game-Changer
"Clean Meat" is one of the names that has been given to the process of using animal cells to grow real meat in a lab, replacing slaughter houses and reducing our carbon footprint. It sounds a bit like science fiction but it's already here and you will see clean meat [also called cultured meat] products in restaurants and grocery stores in the not so distant future. It has the potential to change the world.
In 2013 Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University cooked and ate the first cultured meat burger in front of journalists gathered in London. Just seven years later, there are more than a dozen companies, across the globe, competing to get a variety of clean meat products to market. And the growing industry has some high profile backers including Bill Gates, Tyson Foods, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and Richard Branson, who just made a big investment in Memphis Meats. He believes the new industry will have a significant impact on the environment, human health, and animal welfare. He's right; the potential benefits are overwhelming:
1. About 70 billion animals are killed each year for food and most of us would prefer not to think about the slaughterhouses involved in getting us our beef, poultry and pork products. Perhaps in the future we can enjoy meat without the guilt.
2. Cultured meat will be created in labs/plants using a small percentage of the land that is currently utilized to raise livestock. That will free-up millions of acres for plant agriculture, homes and wild animal habitat. This benefit will be especially crucial as the world's population grows beyond 9 billion by 2050.
3. Cultured meat is produced in a sterile environment, reducing food-borne illnesses. Moreover, clean meat will be produced without the overuse of antibiotics or artificial growth hormones.
4. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture produces 15% of all greenhouse gases. The production of clean meat creates 95-96% less of the pollutants responsible for climate change.
5. The agriculture needed to produce feed for livestock involves the use of large quantities of pesticides and fertilizers which pollute our rivers and oceans, and kill marine life and coral reefs.
6. Especially in developing nations, animal agriculture is the driving force behind deforestation as ranchers clear rain-forest to raise cattle. That is the leading cause of biodiversity loss in regions like the Amazon.
Brian Kateman of the Reducetarian Foundation captured the advantages well in a recent Forbes article:
Forbes: "While estimates vary, one study found that cell-based beef is projected to use 95 per cent fewer global greenhouse gas emissions, 98 per cent less land use and up to half as much energy. It also significantly reduces the amount of antibiotics needed, which are widely used in agriculture and contribute hugely to worsening antibiotic resistance. And since the animal cells are extracted humanely and grown in a facility rather than within the animals themselves, cell-based meat has the potential to all but eliminate animal suffering."
The clean meat industry still has some hurdles to overcome, principally cost. The first burger in 2013 cost $300,000 to create in a lab, but the cultured meat companies now producing everything from beef to pork to chicken, lobster and shrimp expect to be commercially viable with prices under $10.00 per pound within the next year.
Forbes: "The global cell-based meat market is predicted to be worth $15.5m by 2021 and $20m by 2027, according to analysis. One report estimates that 35% of all meat will be cultured by 2040."
Yes, that sounds a bit optimistic, but the industry is scaling up quickly, and we will see Mosa Meat, Meatable and Memphis Meats in our grocery stores within 2-4 years. And that will change everything.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content