Yummy: Lab-Grown Hamburger

Mish

Mosa Meat receives $8.8 million in investment as the race to produce lab-grown meat ramps up.

The Wall Street Journal reports Startup Producing Cell-Grown Meat Raises New Funding.

German drugmaker Merck and a top European meat processor are backing a startup producing beef from cattle cells, ramping up a race to transform the global meat industry with cell-culture technology. The $8.8 million investment in Netherlands-based Mosa Meat by Merck’s venture investing unit and Basel, Switzerland-based Bell Food Group fuels a continuing effort to fulfill growing global demand for meat via a process that developers say requires a fraction of the resources used in traditional livestock and poultry production.

Mosa is led by Mark Post, a Maastricht University physiologist who unveiled the world’s first lab-grown burger in 2013, and Peter Verstrate, a food technician at the university. Mr. Post’s prototype burger cost $330,000 to develop, but the project encouraged Mr. Post to form Mosa, which previously received funding from Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin.

“We’ve done a lot of work in scaling up the cell culture... to something that can be used on an industrial scale,” said Mr. Post.

Cell-culture meat makers begin by isolating livestock or poultry cells that have the capacity to renew themselves, and place them into room-size bioreactor tanks, similar to fermenters. The cells are fed oxygen and nutrients like sugar and minerals, and can grow into skeletal muscle that can be harvested within a few weeks. That tissue can then be formed into meatballs or chicken strips.

Debate Over the Word Meat

Wired asks "What is Meat, Anyway?"

YOU DON’T TYPICALLY find philosophical bickering at an FDA public meeting. But then again, this was no ordinary public meeting. On Thursday, the agency convened a scrum on so-called cultured meat—animal tissue grown in a lab, derived from just a handful of cells taken from a cow or chicken or fish. Experts, lab-meat companies, and spokespeople from industry groups discussed the technology, regulation, and safety of the stuff, which all seemed to boil down to one weirdly complicated question: What is meat anyway?

“Our definition of meat or beef should pertain exclusively to a protein food product that was harvested from the flesh of an animal in a traditional manner,” Lia Biondo, spokesperson for the US Cattlemen's Association, tells WIRED.

To make meat in the lab, scientists take cells from animals and encourage them to grow by feeding them nutrients, a lot like how the cells would naturally replicate in the animal’s body. But at the moment, they’re only able to make unstructured meat, like chorizo, because it’s incredibly difficult to build the structure of, say, a steak. None of these lab-grown meat companies have actually brought a product to market yet, though a startup called Just, formerly known as Hampton Creek, says it’ll have something out by the end of the year. So at the moment there’s nothing to scrutinize.

Inside the Quest for "Clean Meat"

So, is this meat?

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Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (8)
No. 1-8
FelixMish
FelixMish

Sounds great, but a very, very good way to check on the reality of startups is to say, "Oh, neat! Let me try it." And watch for the back-peddling: "We can't do that right now. Last week, yeah. But we have it all broken down now, in the lab, not here, this mock-up is missing a part, and, uh, but, hey, uh, we'll show it to you in operation two weeks from now, for sure, for sure, when we're back in town sometime and can get it to you."

So why can't the interviewer taste the stuff? Now? On camera?

And, buried in all the "Is it ethical/moral/AKA fashionable-to-the-rich?" fluff, tucked in at the end, is, "It costs 1000 times what meat does. And you don't just take some cells and add cell-food. You add blood." Which explains the high costs. Maybe. The articles don't seem to be interested in such details.

Nice idea, but not on the horizon until they get good tasting stuff down to an order of magnitude more expensive than meat. That way, it's only one, not three or four, breakthroughs from the stores.

Vitos
Vitos

You don't have to wait for these lab grown meats, there's already a vegetarian burger with added heme for realistic meat flavor. Just Google for Impossible Burger to see what restaurants might be serving it near you. I had one at Fatburger, and if I didn't already know what it was, I would have sworn it was ground beef.

Jojo
Jojo

I don't like beef. Even when they advertise "grass fed", it seems that they still keep the cattle penned and just feed them grass instead of normal feed. Meanwhile, people think they are getting free-range pasture fed beef. 'Taint so.

When I do eat red meat, which isn't very often, I prefer bison or elk. Costco's in my area have fresh bison and Sprouts has frozen elk. These animals cannot be raised in a pen and they both taste significantly better than beef and there is no question as to the use of hormones, steroids, AB's or were they free-range.

I'd like to try one of those Impossible burgers though. I read an article where I think it was the Impossible food company that said something to the effect that all they do is bypass the standard process of feeding cattle plants to produce beef at the expense of a lot of water and pollution by building their burger directly from the plant. I like that!

Stuki
Stuki

"Skeletal muscle" my rear.

Without enervation, and attendant stimulus, whatever this is, it is a far cry from "beef."

It may be a more efficient-than-cow means of creating a human digestible protein, but then again, so is most vegetable sources. So, the only advantage left for this concoction, is it may be more efficiently produced than beef, while more tasty, to some, than vegetable protein.

Of course, I have no doubt that the Fed will dub it "equivalent" of what was once essentially organically grown cattle protein, and use it as an excuse to hand another quadrillion to banksters under guise of "beef" prices not "inflating."

ML1
ML1

I will NOT be eating that FAKE meat. USA should lower the use of antibiotics and hormones in meat production to make the meat taste better. Europe has got one thing right and that is government requirements and consumer demand for meat with NO hormones fed to it and NO antibiotics fed to it pre-emptively. Also the USA processes of bleaching meat to make even trashy meat eatable is just wrong and in Europe some of the meats Americans eat would be considered trash and discarded. Further there is requirements that regulate how much space each animal has and even milk producing cows are roaming around freely in their fenced grass fields in the summer and going to the milking robot to get a treat and get milked with the milking robot also washing them before milking them. The situation in USA with meat is similar to the situation USA has had with trade and USA has had with immigration. A complete free-for-all with barely any rules led to USA having crap quality meat because companies wanted most profit possible. Companies wanting most profit possible also led to taking factories outside of USA and bringing cheap Chinese crap to USA that Americans purchased then by getting more and more in to debt and having a speculative manias in Real Estate where the amount extracted from economy by Real Estate and banking sectors became excessive. Immigration has been a similar thing since some companies employ illegals to save on wages and government turned a blind eye under Bill Clinton, under George W. Bush and under Barack Obama for that everyone in certain sectors was forced to employ illegal immigrants to lower the wages they pay and be able to compete and also to collect more profits for themselves. Also the Healthcare/Insurance sector and Education sector are extracting way more from the economy than would be wise and this is funded by Federal government, US states and US cities getting into more and more debt.

Webej
Webej

Back in the 70's this was one of my dystopian fears of the future: I knew the meat packers would just grow a mound of flesh on the cement factory floor and dispense with the cattle if they could. It looks as though the images in my head then were very forward thinking.

wootendw
wootendw

If it suits my taste, is nutritious (especially protein-wise), doesn't contain anything more harmful than beef, and is reasonably priced, I'll eat it.

xil
xil

how does it compare in taste and texture to soylent green?


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