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First ‘lab-grown’ chicken and duck meat potions created

An American firm has created the first ‘lab-grown’ portions of chicken and duck meat. And according to reports from those present at the product’s launch in late March, the taste and texture is close to real chicken.

An American firm has created the first ‘lab-grown’ portions of chicken and duck meat. And according to reports from those present at the product’s launch in late March, the taste and texture is close to real chicken.

4-6 week growing period

San Francisco-based Memphis Meats took stem cells capable of self-renewal from chicken and duck without harming the animal. These cells were then grown for 4-6 weeks before being harvested, cooked and consumed.

Last year, the firm successfully created a meatball using the method, and says it has a number of other products in development. It is also working to scale-up production, with the aim of making the method commercially viable.

Photo: Memphis Meats
Photo: Memphis Meats

Requires only a 10th of the land & water

The firm describes its produces as ‘clean meat’, and is marketing it as a more sustainable way to produce protein.

It claims growing meat in the lab is better for the environment, removes the need for raising livestock and could remove food-borne illnesses.

“We expect our process to require less than a 10th of the land and water, and less than half the energy that it takes to produce conventional meat,” the company says.

Launch by 2021

Memphis Meats hopes to have products on the market by 2021.

Uma Valeti, co-founder and chief executive of Memphis Meats, said: “It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals. This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement.

“Chicken and duck are at the centre of the table in so many cultures around the world, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health.

“It is also inefficient. We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable. We really believe this is a significant technological leap for humanity, and an incredible business opportunity—to transform a giant global industry while contributing to solving some of the most urgent sustainability issues of our time.”

2 comments

  • E. Vogelaar

    This is great news!

  • Jean-Francoi Hocquette

    According to a review paper (Meat Science 120 (2016) 167–176), the majority of experts considers that there are still numerous technological obstacles that have to be overcome to produce in vitro meat. In addition, even if in vitro meat could eliminate the supposed lack of wellbeing of livestock and has the potential to free up cultivable land, other supposed advantages are questionable and not always agreed upon by the scientific community. However, another major problem for the commercialisation of in vitro meat would be its acceptance by consumers, even if some consumers are ready to taste it at least once. In particular, the artificial nature of the product goes against the growing demand for natural products in many countries.

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