Cell-based meats: the future of sustainable and ethical food products
A new type of cruelty-free meat product could be one of the solutions to ending climate change. This product is called “cell-based” meat or cultured meat.
What are cell-based meat and poultry products?
Cell-based meat products are lab cultivated meats that are produced by taking the tissues from an animal through non-harmful processes such as plucking chicken feathers or non-invasive extractions from cows. Once these tissues are extracted, they are placed in a dish where the cells will divide and begin to form an identical meat substance, similar to regularly produced meat. This process ensures that the animal whose cells were taken will remain alive while humans can enjoy their meat.
How do these products benefit the environment?
Since multiple cells can be taken from a single animal, the process of making and consuming these products doesn’t cause overpopulation of farm animals, or create excess water or land usage, in turn minimizing the release of greenhouse gases into the environment. According to a study completed at Oxford University, cultured meat could produce up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, 45% less energy, 99% lower land use, and 96% lower water use. The more people who choose to eat cultured meat, the less harmful the impact of meat production will be on the environment and we can begin to reverse the effects that conventional meat production has had over the past few decades.
Recent status on cell-based meat products.
Recently, cell-based meat products have become more widespread and have become a staple at certain food companies such as Upside Foods, Because Animals and Blue Nalu, all based in the United States. Upside Foods provides cell-based meats to consumers for human consumption, Because Animals focuses on pet foods, and Blue Nalu produces cell-based seafood. These products are unfortunately not available for consumption by the general population just yet, but producers are hopeful that by 2030, the majority of the public will be enjoying lab grown food . Cell-based meats could be available before this date as Aleph Farms, a non-U.S. based cultured meat company, has pledged to have their products be widely available before 2022.