We all know our world’s population is growing, and unsurprisingly, along with it meat consumption is rising too. Supplying an ever growing demand is going to have a considerable depremantal effect on our environment and exacerbate climate change
The global meat industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all ships, aircraft, trains and cars combined.
Methane gas, the primary greenhouse pollutant of animal farming is 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas than CO2.
Global meat consumption has quadrupled in the last 35 years and with the world’s population still on a steep upward climb, predictions are that demand will continue to quickly increase.
Scientists and industry analysts agree it will be impossible to meet future demand with current production methods already stretched to capacity.
So, if raising and eating meat is so bad for the planet, why don’t we just stop?
Well there are enough people that find not having that great piece of steak, or their favourite burger or sausages, or the bacon with their eggs an even more horrifying thought than frying the planet to a crisp. They ask - Surely there’s another way?
What if science could make it possible to still eat meat without destroying the planet?
MosaMeat may have the answer
MosaMeat aims to develop tissue engineering into a technology that can mass-produce affordable meat. they are a spin-out from the lab of Prof. Dr. Mark Post at Maastricht University: the lab that created the world’s first tissue cultured hamburger.
Dr. Mark Post says “The switch from traditional meat production to the use of tissue engineering to produce meat would eliminate many of the negative aspects of meat production, and offer us a future where we can preserve this nutritious and delicious product in our menu.”
“On August 5, 2013, we presented and cooked the world’s first lab-grown burger at a news conference in London. The burger was assembled from 10.000 small strips of muscle that were individually grown in our lab at Maastricht University.
Nutritional researcher Hanni Rützler and food writer Josh Schonwald were the two tasters. They reported that there was quite some flavor with the browning and that even in a blind trial they would have taken the product for meat rather than a vegetal copy. The global press coverage was tremendous and the reactions were generally very positive. Having publicly demonstrated and cooked a hamburger from muscle fibers, it is now time to take the next step, and intensify the research phase that will take us to the next level: putting Cultured Meat on the market. We are now working on finalizing the development of the first product, the process and the regulatory aspects.”
But the challenge isn’t necessarily creating the best looking and tasting meatless alternative — it’s pulling down the cost of production so that consumers will see it as a viable alternative to the real thing.
In 2013, it cost around $325,000 to engineer a five-ounce in vitro hamburger constructed from pieces of beef muscle tissue all grown in a lab. Now, with advances in the industry steadily pushing this field forward, the price has been whittled down to just $11.36 — that’s 30,000 times less than when it was first introduced.
This makes lab-grown meat just three or four times more expensive than traditional ground beef, so if the biggest barrier to getting engineered meat to market is cost, then it looks like we’re well on our way.
Assuming the most ideal growing environment, stem cells can produce a lot of meat. A single turkey cell could theoretically be used to produce enough muscle to manufacture 20 trillion turkey nuggets. Given the growing demand for food worldwide, something like this has the potential to address pressing concerns.