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USDA Invests in Lab Grown "Clean" Meat Research as US Regulatory Approval Approaches

"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 diners in Singapore are already enjoying cultured chicken dishes from Eat Just Good Meat. And they seem to like it.

Triple Pundit: "Responses amongst those who have tried Good Meat have been mostly positive. Findings show that 70 percent of Singaporeans who have tried Good Meat stated that its taste was as good or better than conventional chicken, and almost 90 percent of those diners said they would substitute traditional chicken with cultured chicken."

Qatar is soon expected to follow Singapore in approving cultured meats for sale in restaurants and grocery stores.

VegNews: "Now, Eat Just is setting its sights on Qatar—which is poised to become the second country to grant regulatory approval—where it recently partnered with Doha Venture Capital and Qatar Free Zones Authority to build the first-ever cultured meat production facility in the Middle East and Northern Africa region."

Cultured meat isn't available yet in America, but regulatory approval from the United States Department of Agriculture [USDA] and Food & Drug Administration [FDA] is expected this year. In preparation, the USDA made its first investment in the lab-grown meat industry. The agency will award $10 million over five years to Tufts University to establish the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture, in partnership with researchers from Virginia Tech, Virginia State, University of California-Davis, MIT, and University of Massachusetts-Boston.

VegNews: "The project aims to create a more resilient food system by developing “outreach, extension, and education for the next generation of professionals” in the field of cellular agriculture—which revolves around the use of a small amount of animal cells to create real meat and other animal proteins, replacing the environmentally damaging practice of raising and slaughtering animals for food."

The Virginia Tech news release provides much more detail on all facets of the research that will result from the USDA grant funding. "The team will deliver target consumer preference information, data on consumer willingness to pay for lab-grown products, media and cell lines for terrestrial and aquatic animals, and an education and training pathway to equip the next generation of professionals with the multidisciplinary skillsets needed to provide technical guidance and leadership for the budding industry."

We have been big proponents of lab-grown "clean" meats for several years because of the potential to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, there are many other benefits to abandoning the slaughterhouse meat economy.

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.

Few other innovations contemplated today have the potential to so positively impact the global economy, the environment, and human health.

#news #cleanmeat #environment

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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