We are real carnivores here in Europe. From traditional Hungarian fish goulash and Swedish meatballs to German meat sandwich. And a fish will come in at its own time. Just think of Mediterranean fish dishes like French bouillabaisse or Portuguese bacalhau. But the Earth cannot meet the ever-growing demand for meat and fish indefinitely.
Most people know that there are fewer and fewer fish in the seas due to overfishing. We also understand that meat production requires large amounts of water and land. Hence, this sector is also responsible for nearly 60 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted during food production. If we want to continue to eat meat in the future, we need to do something about its environmental impact.
One solution to this problem is cultured meat. Researchers have found a way to make real meat in laboratory conditions, so that no animal is killed and the environment is less affected than it is today. It sounds great, but there’s still a long way to go before you can order lab-grown steak at your favorite restaurant.
Laboratory grown meat. A small tuft of cells is taken from an animal and placed in a bioreactor where it is given nutrients, vitamins and fresh air to grow into full muscle and fat.
It may be healthier than meat as we know it today because it may contain less saturated fat. Meat can also be made without antibiotics, which reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance.
It is more environmentally friendly. Cultured meat production requires less energy and water than regular meat production. Also, CO2Lower emissions, although it depends on whether or not renewable energy is used in the breeding process.
Once production is increased, cultured meat can increase food security.
In Singapore, farmed chicken has been approved for sale on Eat Just. However, in Europe, cultured meat is far from the menu. However, more and more cultured meat suppliers are entering the market.
The main component of future food security
Cultured meat is known by many names; Cultured meat, synthetic meat, off-cut meat, and lab-grown meat, to name a few. It promises healthier, more sustainably produced meat, from which no animal suffers.
“The components of nutrient mediums can be transported over longer distances as a dry powder, so that farmland is not necessarily required close to production facilities,” sustainable food systems researcher Hannah Thomstow wrote in a 2019 article. However, this depends on whether the customers are willing to eat.
Cultured meat vs. real meat
We get a better picture of the need for cultured meat when we look at some numbers. Global food production is responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock farming alone accounts for 60 percent of these emissions. Agriculture and livestock together are responsible for 85 percent of nitrogen and 90 percent of phosphorus emissions. In addition, the two together account for 80 percent of land use change, 70 percent of water use, and cause 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity loss. And this is at the moment. Meat consumption in the world is expected to increase in the future. Lab-grown meat could help reduce the environmental burden without forcing everyone to become a vegetarian.
Cultured meat can be a sustainable alternative to regular meat, but it depends on the energy source used in production. A lot of energy is needed to produce the ingredients for the growth medium and to run the bioreactor in which the meat is grown.
Over the past 10 years, many researchers have calculated how much energy is needed to produce cultured meat. This relates to 25-32 MJ/kg to 147-264 MJ/kg of cultured meat produced. However, if the energy comes from non-renewable sources, then according to scientists Lynch and Pierrehumbert, CO2Long-term emissions from lab-grown meat are much higher than those from conventional meat. This is especially noticeable when compared to pork and chicken.
How is it made?
In 2013, scientist Mark Post cooked the first lab-grown hamburger live on television. Founded in 2016, his company, Mosa Meat, has gone on to develop lab-grown meat alongside many other startups around the world.
“To create muscle tissue with the right texture and flavor, we put muscle cells on a gelatinous scaffold, and with that structural support, the muscle cells naturally begin to contract, gain mass, and form into muscle fibers. When we put all the muscle fibers together (about 20,000 fibers per one hamburger patty) ) And we add fat, and we have meat. The meat can then be processed using standard food techniques. For example, we can put the meat in a grinder to make ground beef. Because it’s real meat, it has the same characteristics that we’re used to from conventional meat. For example, ” It bleeds “just like regular meat, sizzling and browning when cooked,” says Hannah Tait of Mosa Meat.
In theory, cultured meat could be made from any animal with stem cells that can turn into fat and muscle cells. Nearly 30 cultured meat companies in Europe – including Israel and Turkey – develop a range of different types of meat, from beef and other red meat products to chicken and duck fillets. French Gourmey even wants an animal-friendly version of the popular, but it’s very controversial Phua we will b. The company conducted the first taste tests of this cultured foie gras in 2021 which resulted in positive feedback.
Compared to other forms of meat, seafood is a new innovation. Most of the farmed seafood projects in Europe have only been established in recent years.
Most meat and fish farming technologies follow a similar general product path. Of course, there are technological differences within the same category and between the two categories, says Daphna Heifetz, CEO of Wanda Fish, a startup that makes different fish fillets. The limits of the types of farmed seafood that can be produced are still unknown, Heifetz said.
Israel is at the forefront of cultured meat innovation. Heffetz cites a number of reasons for this. High-tech startups can easily set up their businesses through technology centers supported by the Israel Innovation Authority. “When a new opportunity with great potential arises, particularly in high-tech and biotechnology, Israelis will likely be the first to jump on it,” Heifetz predicts. And the companies can build on each other’s success: “Some of the cultured meat companies in Israel are stepping up quickly, creating a successful model for others to join.”
In 2019, Mosa Meat developed an animal-free alternative to fetal bovine growth serum. Their new alternative is more sustainable, ethical and scalable. The next challenge is to scale up the technology so that meat can be mass-produced at an affordable price for the average meat-eater.
The price of making a 2013 hamburger was €250,000, unpaid to all but a very wealthy few. The main reason for this was to only make one hamburger. “We’ve lowered the costs of some parts of the process, for example through automation, and by eliminating expensive parts from the middleman. Prices aren’t going to go down significantly until we go up,” says Hannah Tait, a spokeswoman for Mosa Meat.
With its pilot production facility in Maastricht, Mosa Meat has begun ramping up production. “Ultimately, we compare our industry’s expansion ambitions to the production capacity of other broad-spectrum foods such as lysine, baker’s yeast, potable ethanol, citric acid, and winemaking,” Tait said.
Not yet for the European market
Cultured meat is not yet available to Europeans. So first you have to book a flight to the other side of the world. Eat Just’s chicken has been available in the Singaporean market since 2020, but before you can fill your cart with lab-grown meat here in Europe, products must be approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) based on these . new foods. This means that the meat product does not:
- May be dangerous to the consumer
- Do not mislead the consumer
- It is so different from a food or food ingredient that it would be nutritionally harmful to the consumer when consumed normally.
Edward Bray, media relations officer at the FRA, explains some of the obstacles that cultured meat may face if it is to be allowed commercially in the EU market. These cells must be added to the medium. There is no immune system in the bioreactor. So the important question is how do the reactors stay free of microbial contamination.” This includes checking for heavy metals, harmful microbes, and product allergens.
Tait explains the process: “Our process begins as completely sterile in a clean, controlled environment. In a closed system it remains sterile until harvest.” Today, bioreactors are also used in other large industries without the risk of microbial contamination. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, large-scale systems with mammalian cells already work successfully without antibiotics.
for the first time Restaurants and supermarkets
The FRA has nine months to complete an assessment of new foods that wish to enter the European market. At the end of March 2022, they had not yet received a single order for cultured meat. But once the first orders are received and approved, it will likely be some time before full-scale production can begin. “I think small business marketing will start through restaurants. It will be a while before it hits supermarkets,” Heifetz says. It looks like we’ll have to stick to regular meat or plant-based alternatives for a while longer. But the companies believe we’ll see the first cultured meat options appear on the European market this year.