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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.

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

    by takyon (881) <> 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) <> 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.