The meat industry faces a number of hurdles like pollution of water by the animals by making the water infested with antibiotic resistant bugs and slaughtering of animals which is often labelled as torture of animals etc. But does that mean that the ardent meat lover has to sacrifice his love for meat in the future? Not necessarily!
What are the options for meat?
Image Source : NbcNews.Com
If the pollution and the animal lovers are posing a threat for meat lovers who are not willing to accept substitutes for this delicious food,then there is some good news. Several scientists are working on lab grown meat. If this venture is successful, then lab grown meat might bring about a big revolution in the meat industry.
What is lab grown meat and how is better than conventional meat?
Lab grown meat makes use of cell samples. These cells develop into the same tissue that one eats. As per researchers this meat will be healthier than the conventional meat. At the same time, it will help in overcoming the problem of environmental pollution. Since this lab grown meat will be developed in the clean environment of the lab there will be less chances of contamination.
According to certain polls on social media, vegetarians found cultured meat more appetizing than others. However, it should be noted that the cultured meat however contained animal cells. Therefore, if the meat can be had by vegetarians is a debatable question.
Cultured meat will help in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. It would also help in reducing the land and water requirement. Most of the companies that are working on the cultured meat project claim that they do not make use of antibiotics which result in the formation of antibiotic resistant bacteria which can be hazardous to human beings.
Many antibiotics are given to animals for the purpose of making them grow faster and to help them fight diseases. Growth promoting hormones that are used in cattle are not used in case of lab grown meat. Heme iron which is found in conventional red meat is suspected to cause DNA damage and is carcinogenic. Lab grown meat will be free from heme iron.Also, lab grown meat will have less saturated fat which increases bad cholesterol and healthier omega 3 fatty acids.
What are the developments in the cultured meat research?
In the year 2013, Dutch scientist made lab grown burger. They also let people taste it, so that they can get reviews on the taste. Just few months back, Memphis Meats which is a US based company offered the world’s first fried lab grown meat ball. A company called Modern Meadows is working on a cross between potato chips and beef and they have named it as steak chips.
What are the disadvantages of lab grown meat?
The cost factor is one of the major concerns of lab grown meat. The Dutch lab grown burger cost a whopping $330,000. The first fired cultured meatball cost $18,000 per pound. As for the taste, people claimed that it tasted similar to conventional meat.
The electricity and the heat that will be required for the procedure of growing cells in lab will also be pretty high. Certain compounds like nitrates and nitrites would be required for the preservation and these could be harmful. Compounds like heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which cause DNA damage will also stay in this meat.
Lab grown meat seems to be the future of the meat industry. But still it is the developing phase and there are several things that need to be worked upon before it is made available commercially.