Lab-Grown Meat Is a Disaster in the Making

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

- Underneath the greenwashed façade, lab-grown meat has been hyped beyond reality and its promises are slated to fall flat


- In February 2021, the Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprot group behind the alternative protein industry, released a techno-economic analysis of cultivated meat, which claims cultured meat could be economically feasible by 2030; this is disputed by several experts


- One expert estimated that the cost for 1 kilogram (kg) (35.27 ounces) of cell culture product for human consumption would cost in excess of $8,500 to $3,600 per kilogram


- Pharmaceutical-grade specications and aseptic “clean rooms” would be necessary due to the slow growth rate of culture cells, which makes them extremely vulnerable to contamination from bacteria and viruses; GFI’s report assumes only “food-grade” specications


- When lab-grown chicken made by U.S. startup Eat Just debuted in Singapore in 2020, it was produced using fetal bovine serum, largely canceling out one of the key tenets of the cultured meat rhetoric — that it’s made without animals


- GFI’s life-cycle analysis found that cultured meat may be worse for the environment than conventionally produced chicken and pork if conventional energy sources are used


- Fake meats are not about your health or the environment’s; they’re a tool to phase out farmers and ranchers and replace them with an ultraprocessed food product that can be controlled by patents



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