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Lab-grown meat and the fight over what it can be called

Meat the old-fashioned way is filled with distasteful necessities that consumers don’t want to know about. There’s a reason sausage-making is the idiom for unsavory processes.

TAMAR HASPEL: ‘Lab-grown meat. Cultured meat. Cell-based meat. Clean meat. It’s all the same thing: meat grown from just a few cells from an actual animal. And although it’s years away from your supermarket, its potential to radically change animal agriculture as we know it is stirring up tensions. At the urging of traditional meat producers, Missouri passed a law in May prohibiting anything not “derived from harvested production livestock or poultry“ from being marketed as “meat” in the state. This week, advocates of lab-based meat sued, alleging freedom of speech infringement, just before the law went into effect…

Lab-grown meat is poised to disrupt a massive industry, and in some cases, the industry is even investing in the disruption. Tyson Foods and Cargill, two of the biggest meat processors in the country, have both put money into lab-grown meat startups… Meat the old-fashioned way is filled with distasteful necessities that consumers don’t want to know about. There’s a reason sausage-making is the idiom for unsavory processes. Concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are a culmination of farmers’ history-long quest to grow animals more efficiently. But the bad PR that comes from both the farms and the slaughterhouses is something the industry would be happy to dispense with, if there were an alternative.

It could be a while, though, before most of us can taste the alternative for ourselves. Wurgaft believes the most reasonable claims suggest a product “that could be presented at restaurants as a stunt” is “relatively close,” and the industry could use those kinds of releases to string us along “maybe for another decade.” That would buy time for them to develop more viable products that could be scaled up… And with a growing population with a growing appetite for meat, there’s a lot riding on it. Lab-grown meat won’t be what’s for dinner in the next few years, but humans are planning to eat meat for the foreseeable future. And in the long run, at least some of it is likely to come from a lab’. SOURCE…

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