In san Francisco and Silicon Valley there’s a Race going on. Some of the biggest players are investing to make commercially viable “Clean Meat”. The meat that is grown in a lab rather than on an animal. There are about half a dozen companies racing to develop clean meat. One of them is JUST Inc.
But is it the same?
Our relationship with meat is complex. Many of us love how it tastes. It is so connected to our identity and it is part of human culture.
But try not to think too hard about how it reaches our plate. Of the cost in terms of Planet, Animals suffering and whole lot more.
That’s where the concept of Clean Meat is come into picture.
Clean meat is real meat that is grown from animals cells rather than animal slaughter.
Right now raw meat in our kitchen is generally treated like toxic waste. You keep it in different bag when you buy it, if it touches your counter you disinfect the counter and the reason is because there is a feces in the meat and within that feces there are intestinal pathogens. And if we don’t cook them out of our meal, literally they can sicken us. With clean meat you don’t need to worry about it so much. Because you are not growing intestines at all. You are just growing the muscles that we actually want.
“There is a technology to extract biopsy from animals. And inside that biopsy there are millions of cells. And if you put that cells inside of cultivator and make them think that they are still inside the animal’s body they do what they do best. Which is grow into muscle. So this is not alternative to meat this not substitute to meat this is real meat simply without the need to raise and slaughter animals”, Paul Shapiro, Author of Clean Meat.
More people are eating meat today than yesterday. So the main challenge is, it might not be fully embraced by people.
One of the other challenges is finding the right liquids in which to grow meat such that it provides the rapidly dividing cells with all the nutrients they need. Upto now the only reliable medium is something called fetal bovine serum or FBS. Which is harvested from unborn calves which is ethically and economically a non-starter for commercially clean meat production.
One other experiment is being done is that finding the right proteins from plants that can replace the proteins in FBS.
“At the end of the day animals eat plants so the proteins are similar or not we just need to figure outbest ones”, Parendi birdie, Researcher, Just inc.
But there is one thing that researchers haven’t yet solved is how to replicate the structure and texture animal grown meat. More specifically how to make steak that just a lump of mince.
“It’s difficult and we are not there yet. Think initial product will be things like hamburger or nuggets but over time the technology is out there for us to develop that structure”, Peter Licari, Chief technology officer, JUST Inc.
JUST Inc has made the prototype of clean meat product. The Chicken Nuggets from the Chicken cells. And the Chicken which it has been taken from is still alive and well.
It seems that we all have to get used to some familiar yet strange foods in coming years.
There are many hurdles still to overcome but moving away from relying on animals for meat has the potential to be an extraordinary step forward for our species and few others as well.
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