As of yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture gave the green light for the first time in history for two companies to begin selling "artificial meat."
Lab-grown meat involves first harvesting cells from a living animal or a fertilized egg, to establish a cell bank that can be kept for decades in deep freeze. The cells are then cultivated in steel tanks where they are fed nutrients similar to what animals would eat.
After several weeks, the resulting product is "harvested" from the tank and molded into whatever shape they deem appropriate, the most popular being filets or nuggets.
The public is being told that these products grown from cultured cells are a more sustainable and humane alternative to animal products. Although it may be some time before these products are mass-available due to the cost of production, they are already available in several high-end restaurants.
However artificial meat is already running in several roadblocks. One is that past surveys have indicated that U.S. consumers are still uneasy about consuming artificial meat. and production of these artificial nuggets pales in comparison to the existing meat industry.
The other is that the promise that this artificial meat is more "environmentally friendly" doesn't seem to necessarily be true. The University of California conducted a recent study revealing major problems with the current production methods of cultured meat. Despite prior claims, it turns out that lab-grown meat has a larger carbon footprint than beef farming, emitting up to 25 times more carbon dioxide per kilogram.
We will see what the future holds for artificial meat. In the meantime, leave a comment below with your thoughts. Is this something that should happen to help the environment or are we playing with fire and defying nature?