Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Lab-grown meat could be up to 25 times worse for the environment than beef, study says

11/05/2023

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman

05m read

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A new study has found that lab-grown meat could come with its own environmental issues, casting doubt over its use as a sustainable replacement for beef.

In fact, the findings found that cultured meat could actually be 25 times worse for the planet than standard beef is, unless scientists find a way to switch up the most energy consuming parts of producing it.

Conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, the pre-print paper, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, says: “Currently, animal cell-based meat products are being produced at a small scale and at an economic loss, however companies are intending to industrialise and scale-up production.

lab grown meat italy ban

New research has been done into lab-grown meat (Credit: Alamy)

READ MORE: Company makes giant meatball out of lab-grown mammoth meat

“Results indicate that the environmental impact of near-term animal cell-based meat production is likely to be orders of magnitude higher than median beef production if a highly refined growth medium is utilised.”

Lab-grown meat has long been posed as a sustainable alternative to lab-grown meat, due to the fact less antibiotics, land and water is needed than when rearing cattle.

It is usually made using test tubes or stainless steel bioreactors, however, the study found that because to grow the product you need salts, amino acids and vitamins – all of which are energy intensive to work with – the environmental costs have the potential to be greater.

Responding to the findings, Good Food Institute (a non-profit organisation that promotes cell-based meat alternatives) said the study shouldn’t be taken as final before the peer review process.

“Assumptions and conclusions are subject to change,” they responded to Mail Online.

“Several key assumptions in the UC Davis study do not align with the current or expected practices for sourcing and purification of cell culture media ingredients.”

cop27 beef menu vegan

Beef could be better for the environment, initial studies show (Credit: Alamy)

READ MORE: This lab made a cell-cultured steak from a cow that’s still alive

The preliminary findings may well be pounced on by those opposing to lab-grown meat, but many studies have found that the process will have a lower carbo footprint than normal meat once research develops further.

And given

The findings come as the FDA confirmed lab-grown meat by the company Upside Food was officially safe for humans to eat, meaning it could soon be available in UK supermarkets.

There are some restaurants, including Marco Pierre White’s UK steakhouse, that are getting on the hype, too, selling cultured meat to the masses.

Obviously there are lots of ethical arguments for and against lab-grown meat, too.

It removes the need for farming and slaughtering livestock altogether, which many animal activists support. However, there are some who are concerned about the level of processing the food would need.

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