In Vitro Meat–Are You Salivating Yet?

A news story this week reports that a lab-grown or in vitro burger will be available from a science lab in the Netherlands by October.  The burger grown from animal stem cells will cost $330,000 to produce, and scientists working on it say that it will be at least 20 years before the process will be efficient enough for large scale and cost effective production.  Such meat is not imitation meat or a meat analog, but actual meat grown from animal stem cells.  It promises to reduce animal suffering, because such meat cannot feel pain, as well as avoid the environmental impact of livestock agriculture.  Because no animals need to be fed, no grain supplies are needed.  No manure is produced.  Apparently there is considerable interest these days among researchers, and increasing funding available, to bring such products to market.  Learn more about the current state of research, production and expected impacts here.

The human health impact of such meat is unknown; growth hormones and antibiotics may be required for large scale production.  Presumably the amount of fat and other undesirable components can be controlled in a lab setting; researchers want to make it healthier than conventional meat. Time will tell. But whatever words come to mind at the prospect of in vitro meat, at least to me, “yummy” is not one of them.

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