New tech can produce cultured meat
Some refer to it as “cultured” or “cell-based” meat. Others call it “fake” meat. What is it? It’s a new technology to grow meat in the laboratory and it may show up in the meat sections of our supermarkets someday.
Cultured meat is meat produced when cells from animals are “cultured” or grown under laboratory conditions. Not to be confused with plant-based meat substitutes made from vegetables proteins, cell-based meat is grown from actual animal cells. So it is an animal product, not a vegetarian option.
Why do we do need another method to produce meat? Some say it’s to keep up with the growing demand for quality protein sources in our expanding world. Others say it is an alternate way to produce meat for human consumption.
Is cell-cultured meat the same as regular meat? Depends on who you talk to. Muscle fibers produced in the laboratory are the same as that found in a steak, say leading researchers in this technology from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Yet they also say that they need to tweak the procedure to get the same nutrient content, such as iron, that is found in red meat.
Some groups have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to better define the term “meat” so we know if we are buying the traditionally produced type or the cultured variety.
This all may take a few years. Regulatory issues and cost (the first lab-grown hamburger patty cost a mere $330,000 to produce) could delay the introduction of cultured meat into our food supply for a while.