Ever looked at your in-flight meal and wondered if what you were eating was actually meat? The problem just became even more complicated with the announcement that lab-grown meat has been approved for human consumption.
That’s right; the FDA officially approved Upside Foods’ “cultivated chicken” as safe for us to eat. Before your stomach turns too much, let’s delve into the details.
What is lab-grown meat?
The process is a complicated one, but in simple terms, scientists take living cells from real chickens and grow them in a controlled environment into so-called “cultured cuts of meat.” They’re grown in large steel containers filled with vital nutrients and create fully formed muscle tissue that can be shaped into any form required. From there, it should taste the same as its source animal and be ready for baking, frying, or however it’s to be cooked.
Why? Just why?
As odd and possibly unappetizing as it sounds, lab-grown meat could be a serious game changer. Billions of animals are slaughtered every year, and if it takes off, cultivated meat could theoretically end or reduce that cycle. Mass farming has severe ethical implications, and with no real alternative without forcing the population to eat less, it’s the only way.
Perhaps more widely applicable, it could also prove pivotal in the fight against climate change. The removal of mass-production farming would see an industry-transforming drop in greenhouse gas emissions.
Can we buy it yet?
The company still has a few more hurdles to clear before we see cultivated chicken or beef on our store shelves, so expect it to take a little bit of time.
Either way, it can’t be any worse than United Airlines’ meatballs.