Are You on Board with the Future of Meat?


Lanaye Jordan, Staff Writer

Another year has begun. There will be new political moves, tragedies, inventions, and ways to further us as a civilization and the earth by putting these new inventions to use. There could be advances in virtual reality, a closet that picks outfits for you, and so much more, making life easier and less hectic. One of the inventions of the upcoming future is cultured meat. 

We’ve had the Impossible Whopper from Burger King, the Beyond Burger, and other plant-based meats, but cultured meat is something totally different. It’s meat from an animal without killing it or harming the planet. So what exactly is cultured meat and are we going to be eating it anytime soon?     

Cultured meat is meat produced from animal cells rather than from slaughtering a live animal. Lab-grown meat typically starts with the extraction of cells from a living animal, a process that would only leave the animal in discomfort rather than hurting or killing it. Those cells are then mixed with other nutrients in a machine called a bioreactor, where the cells multiply and eventually create actual meat. 

The effects of cultured meat on the planet are pretty positive. With the temperature of the earth rising and all of the other environmental harm going on, growing meat instead of killing animals will reduce a whole lot of smoke from factories, greenhouse gas emissions, and field destruction.

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. Almost too good to be true: we are saving the planet by reducing the amount of pollution that comes as a result of producing meat and still being able to enjoy something eaten by most of the population. So as commercial backing and more information comes out for this long-anticipated phenomenon, we have to think, are we even going to enjoy it? The taste could be off and so could the texture, giving consumers a feeling that they are not used to. 

Three pre-registered studies showed that 35% of meat-eaters and 55% of vegetarians felt too disgusted by cultured meat to try eating it, perceiving it as “unnatural.” So without even getting to try it the people participating in the study already had their minds made up 

But Chef David Chang has tried the meat and had this to say on the Jimmy Kimmel show about the meat: “ It’s pretty damn good, it’s almost like when you’re playing video games or watching tv in the early 80s and 90s you can see that it’s gonna get a lot better.”

Food critic Jannelle Bitker tried the “test tube meat” and said the chicken “definitely smells and tastes like chicken but it’s stringy and dense in an unnatural way . . . If I were to write a review on this cultured meat it would say ‘Upside foods cultured meat gets it close, but isn’t all the way there.’” 

Hence all the different opinions might just be a don’t knock it till you try it type of thing. But I do think that our new solution should at least taste good and not just be a safe way out. 

There is also room for concern about what effects lab-grown meat may have on humans, the meat is still in the testing stage and any side effects should be announced to the public. One health concern according to a report done by News Medical is cancer-promoting properties of cells that proliferate exponentially in vitro, these cells may cause unwanted effects on the human body. The exact amount of risks is however still unknown.

Despite the fact that it’s being perceived as disgusting, lab-grown meat truly is a huge scientific breakthrough. The amount of pollution and animal death will reduce tremendously while keeping up with the supply and demand for real meat. I’m here for the skepticism but honestly, it may be worth trying, even without knowing the environmental good that can and will be done, in about 5 years we may all be eating it if scientists get it just right, are you getting in line or giving up meat altogether?