Recently, many videos and graphics have made their way throughout social media regarding new “cultured meat” products. Vegans and meat eaters alike were left with questions… a lot of questions. What is it? How is it made? Is it safe?
So, what exactly is this mystery meat? Cultured Meat is synthetic meat made from live animals cells. Back in January, The Good Food Institute announced the debut of cultured meat products from Memphis Meats. Check out their video that explains the driving forces behind their “delicious, safe, and healthy” cultured meats.
How is cultured meat made? According to Future Food—Meat Without Livestock, animal cells obtained via biopsies of live animals are cultured in growth medium with “scaffold” cells and bioreactors that are free from animal derived products. The result is synthetic meat that is produced without modifying the original genetic sequences naturally found in animal cells, that is virtually indistinguishable from animal flesh. For more on the science behind cultured meat, visit futurefood.org.
Is it natural and safe? Since cultured meat is grown in a lab, it is free of antibiotics, bacteria, and other potentially harmful contaminants found in traditional meat products.
The Modern Agriculture Foundation views cultured meat as a solution for individuals that do not want to change their eating habits, and also the answer to our declining environment and widespread diet-related health issues.
“When one considers that the decisive majority of the human race does not want to stop consuming meat, and that cultured meat could stop widespread environmental damage, the most severe animal abuse, and prevent pandemic outbreaks capable of killing millions of people, the critical question is not whether cultured meat is natural or not, but whether or not we want to support a product that can change our world for the better.”
New Harvest, a non-profit research institute that studies cellular agriculture, takes the cultured meat game one step beyond nuggets and burgers, and works to produce milk without cows, eggs without hens, and even synthetic fur and leather originating from live cells.
With these new developments, it seems that going vegan is now easier than ever before. Since these products are so new, many questions remain. Will synthetic meat products lead skeptics to adopt cruelty-free lifestyles? Will vegans find this meat to be acceptable based on its cruelty-free production? Will these meats have adverse health effects? Only time and research can answer these questions, but there is no doubt that the need and desire for cruelty-free, environmentally and economically friendly food options is at an all time high. No matter your stance, it is undeniable that the future of food is here!