Food Integrity Campaign (FIC) whistleblower clients have revealed serious problems with modern meat production: mistreated animals, unsafe working conditions, and food safety hazards. Proponents of a new technology called cell-based meat aim to circumvent many problems altogether through a completely new production system.
In short, cell-based meat involves taking cells from an animal, using those cells to grow many more in a lab, and using the large volume of cells to make a meat alternative. In order for the cells to resemble the actual animal muscle that makes up meat, they have to be grown on an edible “scaffold” to give the product texture and structure like conventional meat.
The process itself is still being refined, as many companies scramble to figure out a cost-effective, sustainable way to bring their products to scale. The potential promise of this technology is enticing. Consider:
The number of start-up companies working to bring cell-based meat to market continues to grow, and the federal government is paying attention. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently held a joint meeting to consider how to regulate and label cell-based meat products. Look for more coverage of the heated debate about the future of this new technology in our food system.