“‘Clean’ meat has been science fiction and now it is science fact”: but what’s so ‘clean’ about it?

"'Clean' meat has been science fiction and now it is science fact": but what's so 'clean' about it?
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The future of food is here. "Clean" meat is the latest craze in the food industry and some big-time players like Tyson's Chicken are invested in it. However, some question if it meets standards.

"We have to cook the crap out of our meat literally because it is riddled with feces," exclaimed Paul Shapiro.

Shapiro wrote a Washington Post bestselling book Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World.

"When you're growing 'clean' meat, you're just growing the meat that you want," Shapiro explained.

Basically, scientists can now grow specific parts of animals—like JUST the chicken breast or ground beef. They do it by taking the cells from a living animal.

"We can make the cells from the biopsy think that they are still in the animal's body. Then have those cells grow into real actual animal meat without having to raise and kill an entire animal," said Shapiro.

It is the same technology that is used in the medical field to repair organs. Experts think in long run this "clean" meat could help with problems -- like hunger and global warming.

"'Clean' beef would take up 99% less land, produce 96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and over 90% less water to produce the same amount of beef," explained Shapiro.

"Clean" meat advocates say animal cruelty will be non-existent because you are not raising animals to slaughter them in the first place.

The new meat has been met with some fire. In February, the Cattlemen's Association filed a petition.

"We want them to think of this," said Kelly Fogerty as she pointed to a field of cattle.

She is the Executive VP of the Cattlemen's Association and her family has raised cows for the past five generations.

"We don't want them to think of something that's created under a microscope," Fogerty explained.

The Cattlemen have asked the Agriculture Department to stop the "clean" meat companies from being able to call their products certain terms -- like "beef" or "meat".

"The reason we want to use the word meat is that we firmly believe this is a piece of meat," said the CEO of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown.

Brown thinks the meat has a right to be called just that -- meat.

"We are hitting all those key points of composition," said Brown.

Despite the pushback, household names have invested in the cultured meat. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and others are investing over $17 million dollars into one company – Memphis Meats. They already sell meatballs and other lab-grown products in stores.

Some stores sell the plant-based version right next to their competitors.

"One company, Hampton Creek, they will have something for sale this year. Another company, Most Meats, has said that they will have their product and some restaurants by the end of next year." said Bruce Friedrick who is the CEO of the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit focused on supporting plant-based and "clean" meat industries.

"One of the more common question is 'will people eat it,'" Friedrick questioned. "Right now people eat meat despite how it's produced. They don't eat meat because of how it's produced. If you ask people, 'would you want to eat chickens who are genetically bred so that they grow that they grow six times as quickly as they would naturally?' people would say no. And yet that's chicken that people are eating."

In 2014, Pew asked people if they would eat the "clean" meat -- 80% said no.

In 2017, a survey showed that nearly a third of people would be willing to eat "clean" meat regularly or as a replacement for traditional meat.

"For years clean meat has been science fiction and now it is science fact," Shapiro said.

Last year, sales of plant-based meat were up – valued at about $500 million dollars. That is just crumbs compared to the traditional meat industry—bring in a whopping $50 billion dollars annually.

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Lab-grown meat is inevitable. Will we eat it?

Lab-grown meat is inevitable. Will we eat it?

Should lab-grown meat be labelled as meat when it’s available for sale?

Should lab-grown meat be labelled as meat when it’s available for sale?