WHAT IS CULTURED MEAT?
Cultured meat, which is also referred to as “cultivated meat,” is a groundbreaking technology that is poised to revolutionize the global food system.
Rather than obtaining meat from animals raised on environmentally destructive factory farms and slaughtered in filthy slaughterhouses, cultured meat is produced by taking a small sample of animal cells and replicating them in a culture outside of the animal. The resulting product is 100 percent real meat, but without the antibiotics, E. coli, salmonella, or waste contamination – all of which come standard in conventional meat production.
Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University proved meat could be created this way when he debuted the first cultured meat hamburger in London in 2013–at a cost of roughly $330,000.
To put the developments of the past few years into perspective, the San Francisco startup Memphis Meats is now producing cultured meat for $40 per gram, which is less than one – fiftieth of the cost from just a few years ago. And Dr. Post’s company, Mosa Meats, plans to sell its cultured meat hamburgers for $10 a patty by 2020.
The end goal is to produce cultured meat that is cheaper than even the least expensive conventionally produced chicken. Leading experts believe that is achievable within 10 years given adequate support for cultured meat research and development.
WHY CULTURED MEAT?
Animal agriculture is unsustainable, environmentally harmful, bad for human health, and bad for animals. Cultured meat mitigates or solves these problems.
United Nations scientists state that raising animals for food is “one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.” Cultured meat will require much less land and will cause far less climate change than conventional meat.
Growing crops to feed them to farm animals is vastly inefficient, driving up the price of grains and legumes, and entrenching global poverty. To produce enough food for 9.7 billion people by 2050, we will need a more efficient system. Cultured meat is predicted to be three times as efficient as chicken, which is the most efficient conventionally produced meat.
The current production of animal products subjects tens of billions of thinking, feeling animals to lives of extreme confinement, emotional trauma, painful mutilations, and inhumane slaughter. Cultured meat does not require that animals suffer or die.
About 80 percent of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are given to farm animals. This steady stream of antibiotics contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and superbugs that cannot be killed by standard antibiotics. Cultured meat does not require the use of antibiotics.
Just as the inventions of the plane and car have made the idea of traveling by horse and buggy unthinkable, cultured meat technology is poised to make the myriad problems of conventional animal agriculture a thing of the past.
The Good Food Institute has a team of scientists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and lobbyists, all of whom are laser-focused on using markets and food technology to transform our food system away from factory farmed animal products and toward cultured meat and plant-based alternatives. You can contact and read more about GFI’s team of experts here.