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posted by mrpg on Friday March 17 2017, @09:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the replicant-food dept.

A company called Memphis Meats has announced that it has developed artificial/synthetic/lab-grown/cultured chicken and duck meat. The company's press release says it plans to sell cultured meat products to consumers as soon as 2021. Duck is identified as key to the mainland China market, which consumes more of it (over 6 billion pounds annually) than the rest of the world combined:

The quest for artificial meat inches forward—the company Memphis Meats announced today it has developed chicken and duck meat from cultured cells of each bird, producing "clean poultry." The firm provided few details, although participants at a tasting reportedly said the chicken tasted like, well, chicken. Below is a repost of a story originally published 23 August 2016 on some of the regulatory challenges and questions facing Memphis Meats and other companies pursuing artificial meats.

[...] So far, none of these synthetic foods has reached the marketplace. But a handful of startup companies in the United States and elsewhere are trying to scale up production. In the San Francisco Bay area in California, entrepreneurs at Memphis Meats hope to have their cell-cultured meatballs, hot dogs, and sausages on store shelves in about 5 years, and those at Perfect Day are targeting the end of 2017 to distribute cow-free dairy products. It's not clear, however, which government agencies would oversee this potential new food supply.

Historically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat, poultry, and eggs, whereas the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees safety and security for food additives. FDA also approves so-called biologics, which include products made from human tissues, blood, and cells, and gene therapy techniques. But emerging biotechnologies may blur those lines of oversight, because some of the new foods don't fit neatly into existing regulatory definitions. "Cellular culture raises a lot of questions," says Isha Datar, CEO of New Harvest, a New York City–based nonprofit founded to support this nascent industry.

To help provide answers, the White House last year launched an initiative to review and overhaul how U.S. agencies regulate agricultural biotechnology [DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6244.131] [DX]. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., is working on a broader study of future biotechnology developments and regulation, with a report slated for release at the end of this year. In the meantime, industry leaders are thinking about how their potential lab-based foods might be handled by regulators. One approach, they tell ScienceInsider, is to show that their product is similar to an existing product that testing has already shown to pose no hazards. "Most food regulation is about aligning new products with something that's already recognized as safe," Datar notes.

Related: Producing Beef has the Greatest Impact on the Environment Compared to Other Animal Based Foods
Real Vegan Cheese: Coming From a Yeast to You
Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality

Right now, manufactured meat is as real as a flying car.
- Anonymous Coward, 2014

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2017, @09:58AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2017, @09:58AM (#480322)

    You can bet this will at best be like injected meat. More likely, it will be like McNugget filling. The nutrient solution probably contains corn and soy that is not even processed by a stomach.

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday March 17 2017, @11:40AM (3 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday March 17 2017, @11:40AM (#480344) Journal

    Fast forward to 2021. If they can get the store price down to $10/lb ($22/kg) or less, will you try half a pound of it?

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    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday March 17 2017, @12:08PM (2 children)

      by looorg (578) on Friday March 17 2017, @12:08PM (#480352)

      I'm not sure how inflation will adjust the price of chicken within the next five years but unless it's about to double that will be quite expensive. You can get chicken for less then half that today. So unless this lab-grown stuff is substantially cheaper (and better) then real chicken I really don't see the market for it except as some kind of novelty.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday March 17 2017, @12:33PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday March 17 2017, @12:33PM (#480361) Journal

        Go to the store and look at organic meats or vegetarian/vegan meat alternative products. They are priced quite high. For example, organic chicken breasts are $5-6/lb at Costco [], and that's a bulk buy.

        Obviously, in challenging the AC, I am setting an upper bound on the price while assuming it will probably decline over time to something far more reasonable than $10/lb. I think it's reasonable to spend $5 one-time on this particular novelty just to disprove poor expectations of taste/quality. If it was $40-50/lb [], you would probably wait instead.

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        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday March 17 2017, @03:07PM

          by looorg (578) on Friday March 17 2017, @03:07PM (#480428)

          I see your point.But then it's a very niche product as alternative "chicken" meat for vegetarians and then the price range as noted is quite different. I have not tried a lot of the meat substitutes besides Quorn (which is some kind of mushroom proteins as far as I can recall - it was mostly tasteless - not in bad way but in a pure flavor way) and it's about twice as expensive as just buying beef. In such a case this grown chicken meats will never be or become an alternative to actual chickens since they are quite cheap already - unless they can really crank up the production and get the prices down that way.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2017, @11:58AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2017, @11:58AM (#480347)

    The nutrient solution probably contains corn and soy that is not even processed by a stomach.

    I'm confused as to how to interpret your sentence and what you are complaining about. Mind enlightening me? By 'not even processed by a stomach' do you mean stuff that our human stomachs can't digest in our stomachs, or do you mean plant material that was not processed previously by a stomach before being turned into meat?

    The first does not make much sense to me because it seems like eating stuff that our bodies do not digest (and thus passes directly to the exit, instead of being stored as fat) would actually be quite helpful to combat obesity. Also corn is frequently associated with corn syrup, which is basically sugar and does get digested and does seems to be one of the causes of obesity and poor health. Putting stuff that into artificial meat would indeed be a problem.

    The second does not make much sense to me either. Do you mean to say that it is important to you that food went through a stomach first before being turned into meat? Because if so, that means you need an animal with a stomach, to turn plant based material into meat over the course of its lifetime. That basically defeats the whole concept of artificial meat, which is to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact by circumventing that entire wasteful process by growing raw meat in a lab or factory instead.

    As for me, if they can get it where it looks, tastes, feels and smells like meat and contains roughly the same nutrients, then I'll be perfectly happy with artificial meat. That's a big IF of course.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mth on Friday March 17 2017, @12:07PM

    by mth (2848) on Friday March 17 2017, @12:07PM (#480351) Homepage

    I expect there will be different brands, where some will have all kinds of cheaper ingredients mixed in and others will be pure synth meat and sold at a premium.

  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Friday March 17 2017, @11:54PM

    by butthurt (6141) on Friday March 17 2017, @11:54PM (#480702) Journal

    > The nutrient solution probably contains corn and soy that is not even processed by a stomach.

    That's what I expected, too. However it's been proposed, elsewhere, that tissue cultures could be nourished by a hydrolysate of ocean-grown cyanobacteria, so that little land or fresh water would be used. []

    I would think that if such a hydrolysate can nourish mammalian or avian tissue cultures, it could be eaten directly by humans. I assume it would be green in colour...

    Cyanobacteria, as I posted in an earlier story, are eaten directly by humans.

    / []