Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"No chickens were harmed in making this fried chicken."

Reported by Dominique Mosbergen on the HuffingtonPost.

This story is from the "clean meat" movement.   I had not heard of this previously, but it's a growing thing for foodies of the future to replace meat that comes from animals with "meat" grown in a lab.

Taste testers munched on chicken tenders from a lab at Memphis Meats.  The verdict?  Generally positive: "tastes like chicken. . .  a little spongier."  Some liked it enough to go back for seconds.   Promoters point to advantages:  making our food saferhealthier, and better for the environment.  Concerns about animal cruelty would disappear, as would the 15 to 20% of greenhouse gases that livestock contribute to climate change.

[added for clarification:   This is not the faux chicken you find in vegetarian restaurants made from soy or other substitute products.]

The process begins with a small sample of animal muscle tissue, from which stem cells are harvested and placed in a culture with a special solution that feeds the cells and promotes growth.   In the right medium, a single muscle stem cell can multiply into a trillion muscle cells, which merge together into muscle fibers -- becoming almost identical to what's in the meat we now eat.  It would take about 8 to 9 weeks to "grow" a hamburger this way -- which seems slow until you compare it with growing from a baby calf into an adult beef cattle.

Price?   It's not yet economically practical.   Memphis Meats says it's chicken would have to sell at $9,000 per pound.   Beef is even higher -- $18,000 per pound.

Maybe they'll throw in the fries for free.


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