FDA approval for human consumption of lab-grown meat in the US

Source: The post is based on the article “FDA approval for human consumption of lab-grown meat in the US” published in Business Standard on 17th November 2022

What is the News?

The US Food and Drug Administration has given a safety clearance to lab-grown meat for the first time.

Note: Till now, Singapore was the only country to have approved the sale of cultivated meat products.

What is Lab-Grown Meat?

Lab-grown meat, which can also be referred to as cultivated or cultured meat, is real meat that’s grown directly from animal cells. This meat is made without the need to raise and slaughter animals.

How is Lab Grown Meat made?

Lab-grown meat is made by using the more-than-100-year-old technique of in vitro muscle tissue growth.

The process starts by taking a few cells from high-quality livestock animals, like a cow or chicken, and then figuring out which of those cells have the ability to multiply and form delicious meat food products.

From there, we put the cells in a clean-and-controlled environment and provide them with the essential nutrients they need to naturally replicate and mature. 

In essence, we can recreate the conditions that naturally exist inside an animal’s body so that the cells can continue growing. 

Once the meat is ready, we harvest it, process it like conventional meat products, and then package, cook or otherwise prepare it for consumption.

What are the benefits of Lab-Grown Meat?

Less contamination: Advocates of cultured meat say it’s much less likely to be infected by E. coli bacteria (which lives in animal poop) and other contaminants you might find in a meat processing plant.

Fewer antibiotics: Traditionally raised livestock are often given antibiotics to help keep them healthy. This can lead to antibiotic resistance, where the drugs don’t work as well on infections as they once did.

Less environmental impact: As global demand for meat goes up, more forested land is converted into ranches and crop fields. Cultured meat requires much less land, uses less water, and produces less pollution.

No killing of animals: While cultured meat requires a small sample of tissue, it does not require an animal to be killed.

What are the concerns related to Lab-Grown Meat?

It’s not vegan: Since lab-grown meat contains animal cells, it’s not considered vegan. 

Its price: Scientists made the first cultured meat hamburger in 2012. It cost $325,000 to create. But as technology advances, the cost of cultured meat should go down. But it will still be expensive.

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