Jun 23, 2023
There's some exciting news for meat eaters this week. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave permission to two companies in California to sell chicken meat that was grown in a lab. These are the first permits like this in the US for this kind of "cell-cultured" or "cultivated" meat.
The USDA’s move comes 8 months after the Food and Drug Administration said the scientifically engineered poultry was safe to eat. The two companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat, want to be the first to sell their products. They admit that they need to convince people that chicken meat grown in a lab is just as good for dinner as regular chicken.
“We call it the ‘ick’ factor,” Amy Chen told The Associated Press (AP). She is Upside’s chief officer.
Chen says that once people understand how the meat is made, they’re more interested. The companies start by taking chicken cells from high-quality meat. They mix these cells with a liquid that contains things the cells need to grow. These include amino acids, sugars, salts, and vitamins. Then they put this mixture into big tanks, where the cells grow and multiply. After about three weeks, scientists take out the cells, which look like a big sheet. They can shape this sheet into different chicken products like nuggets or sausages.
Of course, the companies say, the real test is how it tastes. Early reviews have been positive, if predictable: “Oh, it tastes like chicken” is the most common response, according to Chen. A reporter for the AP had a more nuanced take.
“Light and delicate with a tender texture, just like any chicken breast I’d make at home,” she said. “I think this will catch on.”
Photo from Reuters.
Reflect: Do you think people are likely to order lab grown meat from a restaurant? Why or why not?
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