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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday November 05 2017, @03:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the vat-grown dept.

Submitted via IRC for takyon

Cargill Inc., one of the largest global agricultural companies, has joined Bill Gates and other business giants to invest in a nascent technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells amid rising consumer demand for protein that's less reliant on feed, land and water.

Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup's website. The fundraising round was led by venture-capital firm DFJ, which has previously backed several social-minded retail startups.

They made the first ever chicken and duck meat that were produced without the animals.

The company expects to have a product in stores by 2021.

"They're the leader in clean meat. There's no one else that far along," says venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, whose firm led Memphis Meats' recent $17 million Series A. Before he met Valeti in 2016, Jurvetson spent almost five years researching lab-grown meat and meat alternatives, believing the market was set to explode. "They're the only one that convinced me they can get to a price point and a scale that would make a difference in the industry," he says.

Cargill is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue ($109.7 billion in 2017).


Previously: Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @09:15PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05 2017, @09:15PM (#592656)

    Whether or not calling it meat is a problem depends a great deal on how accurate the reproduction is. It's got the same nutritional value, taste, texture and the rest of it as regular meat that's not going to be enough. We also have to have some assurance that the process hasn't introduced chemicals into the meat that weren't in meat to begin with.

    But, I think if they manage that, then I have no particular problem with them calling it meat, it would be meat in all practical ways, just with no brain attached at any point.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Sunday November 05 2017, @10:17PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Sunday November 05 2017, @10:17PM (#592681) Journal

    Like I mentioned in another comment, lab grown meat could certainly enable a cheaper "pink slime". You could throw in any number of chemicals just like is done with traditional meats. And yes, it should be evaluated to make sure it isn't introducing something unexpected during the culturing process. But I see it as capable of also producing meat similar in quality to premium meats, if not better, at a lower cost.

    If you look at the lab grown burger PR event [] from a few years ago, the major complaint from the taste testers was that there was no fat in the burger, which made it dry. They had to cook it in butter to add any sort of fat content. It was just muscle cells with no fat.

    Otherwise, it looked just like a burger, and like a ground beef patty before it was cooked. It's clear that the first plausible application for lab grown meat is extra lean ground beef. The strands of muscle cells that they produced were too short to do anything but make ground beef.

    Supermarkets usually sell 93% lean ground beef. I could see lab grown beef being mixed with a 70% lean "real beef" to hit a number like that. That doesn't achieve the goal of eliminating ALL use of livestock, but it is a quick way to get it onto the market, and something that might be done if lab grown meat defeats cattle on costs.

    As always, skittish consumers could tank this with their hysteria, so I'm sure we will see more PR for the concept. Maybe even some counter-PR from livestock companies that don't want to lose market share.

    Memphis Meats may be further along the path to commercialization than others are, but I haven't heard of any talk yet of throwing bones into the mix. Many meat products contain bones, and bones can be used to make broth, add flavor to beans and stews, etc. Unlike what they have been doing with strands of muscle cells, they may need to... 3D print bones using bone cells? They could take a page from what biomedical science people are doing [] in this area.

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []