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Lab-Grown Meat: The Future of Food or ScienceFiction?

The future of food is taking new shape in laboratories around the world. Scientists are pioneering a revolutionary approach to meat production. Lab-grown meat, once only a science fiction dream, has taken further steps to becoming reality.

Steaks and chicken wings are being created in test tubes to feed our ever-growing population. They may also help reduce greenhouse gases produced by traditional livestock farming.

I’m kidding about the steak and chicken wings. Getting lab-grown meat to look and taste like the real thing is still a little elusive.

What is Lab-Grown Meat?

The lab-grown meat definition is straight forward. GFC Global says it is meat grown in a lab outside of animals’ bodies.

Cells that can make copies of themselves are collected from animals. They get added to a nutritional soup that gives them what they need to grow. I am, of course, oversimplifying the process.

Are you wondering what other ingredients are in lab-grown meat? You are not alone. Until products get packaged for sale, companies are not required to reveal

what’s in them.

What is being said is that lab-grown meat may wind up having more benefits than traditional meat. According to Dana Hunnes, PhD, states scientists may be able to add vitamins and nutrients that may are absent in meat now.

What it is Not.

With no lab-grown meat nutritional facts available, there’s a lot of speculation. As a person who works with facts, this will be my one moment of judgment. (Insert eye roll and heavy sigh here). Thank you for your patience and understanding.

There was a rumor started in July 2024. It said some lab-grown meat is being produced from human cells. The rumor started as a post on Facebook. I’m sure it is no surprise that it spread like wildfire. It was reshared over 400 times in 3 weeks.

I was unable to find a credible basis for the claim made in that post. All I can add to this is, please stop watching movies like Soylent Green and avoid getting your news from social media.

The History of Lab-Grown Meat

Lab-grown meat’s first public appearance happened in 2013. It was in the form of a burger that took two years and $325,000 to produce. Scientists returned to the lab to address the claims of it being dry and lacking flavor.

Lab-grown meat has since made it to space. Aleph Farms is a cellular agriculture company. They sent beef cells to the International Space Station in 2022. In two weeks, a strip of steak was successfully grown. No word yet if outer space improved the taste.

Is Lab-Grown Meat an Alternative for Vegans?

Lab-grown meat for most vegans will still be a no-go. Many feel that anything derived from an animal is unacceptable. For them, lab-grown is no better than

animals slaughtered for food.

Some vegetarians are expressing openness to this option. The opinion is that if no animals are harmed, they will be willing to try it.

What’s Everyone Concerned About?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made history with the first state lab-grown meat ban. The ban was in part to protect agriculture in the state. The other was in protest to eating meat from a petri dish.

Several other states look like they will be following suit. Alabama has a bill going before their senate. Their concern is over the lack of testing and potential health impacts. Arizona has two bills. One bill bans selling lab-grown meat in Arizona to protect cattle farmers. The

other calls for stricter meat labeling.

At the beginning of 2024, Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Jon Tester (D-Mont) introduced “The School Lunch Integrity Act 2024”. The proposed act is to protect students from being test subjects. They have stated that there is a lack of research regarding the safety of lab-grown meat.

It was read twice and then sent to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. There has been no other documented activity on this act since the committee received it. Click on for more information about the committee members.

When Will Lab Grown Meat Be in Supermarkets?

There are about 60 start-up companies around the world working on this food option. Out of them, only two lab-grown meat brands have been approved for sale in the U.S. They are cleared to produce chicken only.

The companies are Good Meat, operated by Eat Just, and Upside Foods. They have been approved by the FDA for the ingredients and processes they use. The USDA has given their nod clearing the companies’ facilities for production.

Their products won’t be in supermarkets any time soon. Lab-grown meat availability is too small. The growing process requires more tinkering to be able to produce

enough for public use.

The Final Frontier

It is hard to say when lab-grown meat will be a thing here on Earth or anywhere else. It could solve environmental issues involving livestock farming. It might be a solution to sustainable food sourcing. It may even allow astronauts to reach further space

destinations beyond the moon.

All this remains to be seen, as there are more questions than answers. For now, the scientists are back in the lab. They are working on how to produce lab-grown meat in quantities that will make a difference. Hopefully, they’re working on the taste, too.

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