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Science Technology

Beef Industry Goes After Lab-Grown Startups, Wants USDA To Label Them As ‘Not Meat’

The rise of lab-grown meat in recent months has finally drawn the attention of the beef industry. Now, they’re trying to cut the cultured meat newcomers’ legs from underneath them before they have a chance to even get started.

lab-grown

Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats.

Business Insider reports that the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has petitioned the USDA to ask that lab-grown meat not be allowed to be called “meat.” The 15-page petition calls for the USDA to strictly define “meat” and “beef” as coming from animals that are raised and slaughtered. Since the whole draw of lab-grown is that it can be done without killing the animal, it would force companies like Memphis Meats to find a new name for their products: one that’s likely less attractive than “clean meat.”

The USCA’s challenge to the cultured meat industry brings to light one of the biggest questions surrounding the technological breakthrough:

Is lab-grown meat really meat?

Technically, products like Memphis Meats’ fried chicken are grown from the live tissue of an animal until they’re the size of a typical portion of protein. However, Evan Marks, founder and president of The Ecology Center, noted on Foodbeast’s podcast The Katchup that lab-grown meat signified that we are “separating from nature,” which made him feel uneasy about the tech.

Here’s what members of the Foodbeast fam had to say when asked if lab-grown meat is real meat or not:

Richard Guinto

“Meat is meat. Yeah, it’s meat. What would you call cultured or lab-grown meat, then? It’s meat!”

Rudy Chaney

“I consider Kraft singles cheese even though they might not consider them cheese. But I know it’s cheese and that it’s made from cheese. So, I consider it meat. I don’t know if I like it or if I’d wanna eat it, but, technically, it’s meat.”

Evan Lancaster

“No. Because it doesn’t come off an animal that’s like, living. It’s grown on culture that’s not necessarily natural. It’s man-made, so therefore I feel like it’s a fabricated meat product. When we consider meat, we gotta be very conscious of it coming out of a womb and being born into the world, not created by man.”

Isai Rocha

“It still derives from an animal, right? I can see why it could be meat, but I would say no. I feel like that’s more toward the vegan style of making up your own meat, even though it still comes from an animal. I’d probably give it it’s own name, it’s own category.”

Rishu Bharadwaj

“No, because it’s not originally what we would consider meat. I guess you could call it meat, but it needs to be dead first.”

Chris Abouabdo

“To reasonably answer that question, you have to understand what the definition of meat is. I would consider it to be the flesh of animals, so if it was grown in a lab or cut off of a freshly slaughtered cow, I don’t know if there’s a difference.”

Peter Pham

“I think it’s considered meat, as long as it comes from a source that originates from some form of meat.”

Memphis Meats and other clean meat producers will likely look to combat the USCA’s petition, which they can do by submitting their own petition or other memo to the USDA asking to not consider the USCA’s request. Whether that happens or not will be interesting to see as the legal battle between traditional and lab-grown meat intensifies.

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Science Technology

Tyson Invests In Memphis Meats, Lab-Grown Meat Will Debut Before You Know It

Poultry giant Tyson is continuing its investments in the future of meat by getting involved with a lab-grown meat startup: Memphis Meats. Tyson’s involvement could mean that we get this so-called “clean meat” in stores a lot sooner than expected.

memphis meatsPhoto courtesy of Memphis Meats

Memphis Meats made waves early last year when they debuted a piece of lab-grown fried chicken. Made without killing a single bird, muscle cells are instead extracted from an animal and grown on a medium that allows it to swiftly replicate into pieces of meat. Memphis Meats has also made “clean” beef meatballs and duck using their proprietary technology.

Tyson’s new minority stake in the startup shows their commitment to looking at new ways to produce meat or meat analogs. It also increases the sustainability image of the firm, as lab-grown meat can potentially decrease water/land usage and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent compared to traditional livestock raising.

Terms of the investment were not disclosed in the company’s press release, but Tyson now joins big names like Bill Gates, Cargill, and Richard Branson as minority owners in Memphis Meats.

Tyson has also recently injected more money into Beyond Meat, a plant-based burger company already taking hold in grocery stores across the nation. The chicken-producing empire owns more than 5 percent of Beyond Meat at this point.

For Memphis, Tyson’s new investment means the opportunity to accelerate product development. As of last year, the cultured meat company was hoping to have its meat in stores by 2021. The fresh injection of cash should accelerate that timeline, as Memphis is currently looking to expand its team to make that possible.

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Culture News Technology

Study Says One Third Of Americans Would Regularly Eat Lab-Grown Meat

Image courtesy of Memphis Meats.

Lab-grown meat producers Memphis Meats broke the internet a couple of weeks ago when they introduced their “clean” fried chicken and duck. It’s a telling sign that lab-grown meat, also known as cultured meat, is becoming a more significant part of the discussion of the future of meat.

With that in mind, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia decided to survey a group of over 600 Americans — none of whom had tried any cultured meat products — to answer one key question:

“Would you be willing to try or eat lab-grown meat?”

Through a series of detailed questions about the subjects’ backgrounds and attitudes on lab-grown meat, the researchers concluded that about two-thirds of those surveyed would be willing to try lab-grown meat. A third of the total group also said they would be down to regularly consume lab-grown meat.

Of course, not everybody was on board. The study also found that a fourth of participants considered cultured meat to be “unethical” and those with higher incomes or vegetarian/vegan lifestyles were less likely to eat this meat, even if they agreed that it was better for the environment.

There’s no question that lab-grown meat is better for the environment, as Memphis Meats claims they can cut down their water, land, and emissions by a staggering 90 percent compared to conventional farming of meat. With the general consensus in place that factory-raised meat is going to be unsustainable within the next 30 years, alternatives like lab-grown meat are looking better to those who would be unable to obtain meat otherwise.

And with this significant proportion of Americans saying they would either try or eat lab-grown meat, it’s becoming even more clear that it will be a vital part of the future of food.

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Animals Health News Now Trending Products What's New

This Piece Of Real Fried Chicken Was Made Without Killing A Single Bird

Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats

What if I told you that the piece of fried chicken above was real chicken… but no bird had to be killed to make it? Would you believe me?

Well, whether you do or not, that’s what the above piece of chicken is. And it’s a world first.

Cultured meat producer Memphis Meats unveiled their newest lineup of “clean poultry” meats, which included pieces of duck and chicken that were grown in cultures and didn’t require the death of a single animal to produce.

While Memphis Meats and other cultured meat producers around the world have displayed their ability to create pieces of lab-grown, or “clean,” beef in the past, this is the first time that any company worldwide has been able to develop a piece of real poultry from just cultured poultry cells.

Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats

The company did invite a group of taste-testers to a kitchen in San Francisco to sample the chicken and duck for themselves. The chicken was prepared Southern style and deep fried, while the duck was served a l’orange. According to the Wall Street Journal, tasters described the chicken strip as slightly spongier than a chicken breast, but almost spot-on in terms of flavor. All of them said they would eat it again.

Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats

It definitely looks like a piece of chicken breast when cut open, as well.

Memphis Meats develops their cultured meat products in preparation for a future where traditional forms of meat production are no longer sustainable, since they use up too many of our natural resources, especially water and land. By culturing the meat cells and turning them into real meat products, Memphis Meats claims they can use up to 90% less water, land, and greenhouse gas emissions whilst eliminating the need for slaughterhouses.

Their efforts are backed by animal-welfare advocates, including PETA, which normally is against any form of animal consumption.

Memphis Meats aims to have their production scaled up and cost down to a point where they can sell their meats in stores by 2021.

Hey, if it tastes good and helps save the planet, I’m totally down.

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Health Hit-Or-Miss Products Technology What's New

This ‘Clean Meat’ Company Wants YOU to Help It Save Meat For the Planet

You probably clicked on this article because you had no idea what is meant by the term “clean meat.” It’s something you should definitely get to know, because it is spreading and trying to go global right now.

Before we explain how that’s happening, let’s talk about what exactly clean meat is. It has nothing to do with how animals are raised, antibiotic usage in livestock, the physical contamination of meat by feces or pathogens, or any of the common issues from raising animals.

Clean meat doesn’t even come from butchering live stock. Simply put, it’s lab-grown meat.

0311labmeat02

Photo: Newsweek

By growing meat from stem cells in culture, companies like Memphis Meats are able to produce meat that doesn’t factor in the environmental, social, or labor costs of growing, raising, and slaughtering livestock – hence, the “clean” terminology that they use to describe their cultured meat.

The company has estimated that they can use 90 percent less water and land while producing 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions by raising cultured meat rather than actual livestock – making clean, cultured meat products much better for the environment and reducing the need to raise more livestock.

Environmentally, it’s become clear that the consumption of meat – especially at the levels that it’s consumed at in America – will have significant impacts and is not sustainable for the future of food. In that future where cattle and other animals are difficult to raise because the environmental supply is gone, companies like Memphis Meats aim to deliver meat to a world that isn’t able to raise it anymore.

Additionally, the company has been able to show that their meat isn’t just more environmentally-friendly – it’s also safer and healthier. Cultured meat means that less pathogens can get into the meat supply and contaminate it – leading to less food-borne illnesses.

Memphis Meats has spent a while researching to develop their meat, and revealed their first clean meat product – a meatball – to the world earlier this year. While it will take some time to scale up and have the meatballs ready to sell to the world, everyone was very excited to see the meatball’s success.

memphismeats-118

Photo: Memphis Meats

Now, Memphis Meats wants to get their products and vision for clean meat spread to the rest of the world. By slanging their meat globally, they can develop worldwide scales of beef or other meats without ever having to kill a single animal.

To reach this goal, Memphis Meats recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to help make this possible – and with a month left to go, they’re already almost halfway to their goal.

If this article has made you interested at all in clean meat, or has left you wanting to taste it, then head on over and help Memphis Meats out. What they’re doing is revolutionary, tasty, and could potentially save meat for the planet.

 

(UPDATE: Looks like Memphis Meats isn’t just making meatballs anymore – check out this new footage of a slice of cultured beef fajitas! The footage was just released by Techcrunch.)