Lab-grown meat: fantasy or reality?

memphis meats.jpgSustainability problem:

Global livestock farming generates 7.1  gigatons of CO2 annually, which represents 15% of human induced GHG emissions.

To top it off, our global population is fast increasing (10 billion by 2050), and so is our meat consumption (+ 4.5% by 2024).

At this rate, it is evident that our GHG emissions from livestock farming are only going to increase at accelerating speed.

Technology:

Lab-grown meat. There are studies showing that lab grown meat’s carbon footprint is less intensive than slaughtered meat’s.

Currently, fetal serum is taken from unborn calves to grow muscle tissue. The current technology produces about a pound of meat for $9,000.

Stakeholders:

  • alternative meat producers
  • investors
  • livestock farms meat producers
  • slaughterhouses
  • consumers
  • government

Development/Implementation:

  • Improve technology to reduce the cost of production
  • Launch consumer product
  • Elaborate communications campaign and educational programs
  • Partner with food suppliers and retailers

Sources:

http://www.memphismeats.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/startup-to-serve-up-chicken-strips-cultivated-from-cells-in-lab-1489570202

https://gizmodo.com/behind-the-hype-of-lab-grown-meat-1797383294

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095311914608911

Additional thoughts:

This technology could revolutionize the way we consume and feed ourselves. Currently though, the only proved advantage is related to animal welfare. Although there are some studies showing a lower associated GHG footprint than with traditional meat, more research needs to be done. Finally, product cost remains astronomical and scaling strategy unknown.

Comment on post ‘Not a Plastic Bag’: This is a very promising technology. I would say that part of the current problem associated with alternative plastic bags is the lack of clarity to the consumer. Are they actually more sustainable? If so, which ones are best amongst the many options? This is a case where consumers need to be better informed in order to actually put pressure on retailers to adopt such technologies and create systemic change.

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One thought on “Lab-grown meat: fantasy or reality?

  1. I believe lab grown meat is one of best solution to meet the food scarcity issue without killing any animals around the world. But my only concern is how healthy is this meat and will it really suffice the purpose of reducing GHG Emission? As I read more one this technology, I learnt that all lab-grown meat so far requires a product called fetal bovine serum which is a by-product made from the blood of cow fetuses. And thus, Millions of fetuses are slaughtered for this purpose. I think cultured meat grown by way of FBS doesn’t, at all, address that problem.
    Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/07/why_is_fetal_cow_blood_used_to_grow_fake_meat.html

    Like

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