British scientists have perfected the art of growing meat in a laboratory, using stem cells from cattle:
The process of culturing the artificial meat in the lab is so laborious that the finished product, expected to arrive in eight months’ time, will cost about £220,000 (EUR250,000).
But researchers expect that after producing their first patty they will be able to scale up the process to create affordable artificial meat products.
Mass-producing beef, pork, chicken and lamb in the lab could satisfy the growing global demand for meat – forecast to double within the next 40 years – and dramatically reduce the harm that farming does to the environment.
Leaving aside the debatable claim about the harm farming does to the environment, if artificial meat is sufficiently tasty, tender and cheap it could help solve the problem of protein shortages.
It might also find a market among people who are vegetarian because they don’t like the idea of animals dying to provide their food.
Will it threaten our meat industry? I don’t think so.
The scientists are producing something like burger meat which will still leave plenty of opportunity to sell our real meat to discerning customers who prefer a higher quality product that comes from a paddock rather than a petri dish.