Around the world, the production of meats and seafood will double to 1.2 trillion pounds by the year 2050, if current rates continue. The cost of supplying the water, fuel, pesticides, and fertilizer that is required to support industrialized animal production is astronomical, not to mention the amount of greenhouse gasses pumped into the atmosphere to sustain the meat production.
Then there’s the thing no one wants to talk about: the crowded and less than humane conditions in which some animals are raised, only to be slaughtered for our benefit. Billions of animals are slaughtered each year. Nine billion chickens are slaughtered per year in the United States alone.
There is a less expensive, more humane, and just as tasty a product on the horizon that should satisfy most meat eaters appetites and decrease the amount of food borne illnesses, the bane of many seniors’ digestive tracts. And it’s being developed in labs across the country. It’s called “clean meat”.
What is clean meat?
Clean meat is not fake meat as some suggest, nor is it “unnatural” as its critics’ protest. Clean meat it is real meat made from real animals and it is natural, but grown in a laboratory from starter cells of each species of animal. These starter cells are taken in a painless and very quick muscle-biopsy procedure, then grown in a step-by-step process called cellular agriculture. Those few starter cells are capable of generating literally tons of meat.
The cost of clean meat
The first cultured beef patty was created by Mark Post at Maastricht University and was eaten during a demonstration for the London press in August 2013. Then, a lab-grown burger would have cost $330,000. Since then, laboratories across the world have been perfecting the process and attempting to work out some of the technological bugs in preparation for mass production. The price has dropped by 99% in only four years and as production increases, prices are predicted to drop even more, making it affordable for the general consumer.
Paul Shapiro, past vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States, feels it’s likely that within a few years U.S. consumers will be able to buy genuine clean meat at a reasonable price and altogether bypass involvement of animals. Leather can be cultured as well, potentially creating a new niche in the shoe industry. The process produces less waste and cuts energy consumption in half.
Better for your health
Because cultured meats are grown in more sterile environments, they are free of dangerous bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states
that pathogens in conventional meat are the most common causes of fatal food related infections, especially among the elderly. Also, these cultured meats do not have any growth promoting hormones or antibiotics, which a European Commission report says has, “developmental, neurobiological, genotoxic and carcinogenic effects,” for humans.
A taste of the future
The future of lab-grown, cultured meat, dairy, and leather looks promising; so promising that entrepreneurial geniuses like Bill Gates and Richard Branson are investing in clean meat companies dedicated to research and production.
So, will you please pass the Pâté?
1. Lab-Grown “Clean Meat” is Almost Here: Will You Eat It?
2. Clean Meat, Via Lab, Is On The Way.
3. Clean Meat.com
4. Lab-Grown Meat is In Your Future and It May Be Healthier Than the Real Stuff.