Lab-Grown Meat

Context:  Recentlytwo California-based companies were cleared to make and sell their cell-cultivated chicken in the USA.
  • The first country to approve the sale of alternative meat was Singapore in 2020.

Image Source: swissinfo

About Cell-Cultivated Chicken:
  • Cell-cultivated chicken, also known as cultured chicken or lab-grown chicken, refers to meat that is produced using cell culture techniques rather than traditional animal farming methods.
  • Researchers are also developing cell-cultivated versions of sea bass, tuna, shrimp, and pork. 
  • Consumer Acceptance: Perfectly substituting animal meat with alternative meat requires the latter to match the former’s taste, texture, and appearance, and cost.
  • Cost: The cost of cell-cultivated meat is expected to remain high in the near future.
    • One 2020 analysis even concluded that it may never be cost-competitive, while reports have also expressed concerns about the costs imposed by quality control, especially at scale.
  • Resources: For the cellular cultivation process, researchers require:
    • high quality cells to begin with
    • information about how different cell types contribute to the ‘meat’
    • a suitable growth-medium in which the cells can be cultured
    • other resources required to maintain the quality of the final product
Arguments in favour of developing Lab-grown meat: 
  • Climate Mitigation: The FAO has estimated that global livestock is responsible for 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emission. Lab grown meat can reduce such emissions.
    • With reduction in slaughterhouses, pollution of land and water can also be prevented.
  • Customisation: Lab-grown meat can be customised to be healthier than their animal counterpart, such as being designed to contain less fat, thus contributing to public health
  • Nutritional Security: Its proponents have also advanced such meat as a way to meet the world’s nutritional security and food security needs.
News Source: The Hindu

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