What is Cultured Beef?
Cultured Beef is created by painlessly harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Scientists then feed and nurture the cells so they multiply to create muscle tissue, which is the main component of the meat we eat. It is biologically exactly the same as the meat tissue that comes from a cow.
Why do we need Cultured Beef?
For two reasons. It could solve the coming food crisis and help combat climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the demand for meat is going to increase by more than two-thirds in the next 40 years and current production methods are not sustainable. In the near future both meat and other staple foods are likely to become expensive luxury items, thanks to the increased demand on crops for meat production, unless we find a sustainable alternative. Livestock contributes to global warming through unchecked releases of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The increase in demand will significantly increase levels of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and cause loss of biodiversity. Cultured Beef is likely a more sustainable option that will change the way we eat and think about food forever.
How is this different to GM food?
This is fundamentally different to GM food. No genetic modification is involved in this process. Cultured Beef is normal beef; it also consists of cow cells.
How does it taste?
We expect it to taste like a normal beef burger. Accepted food technology methods will be/have been used to adapt the beef’s taste and texture so that it is virtually identical to farmed beef. Fake meat has been around for decades but has never really taken off. Why do you think your product will? The products that have been released already are usually based on some kind of reconstituted soy or fungal mix. They are usually more expensive than meat and don’t taste as good. We are committed to producing a natural meat product that is both cheaper than farmed meat, indistinguishable in texture and just as tasty.
Does Cultured Beef still involve cruelty to animals?
We still need donor animals for the muscle cells, but the animals can provide the cells by harmless biopsy. One sample could create up to 20,000 tons of Cultured Beef. You can take a sample from an animal and the animal lives.
Cultured Beef is 100% natural beef, just grown outside the cow. No unnatural chemicals added.
How is it made?
Cultured Beef is created by painlessly harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Scientists then feed and nurture the cells so they multiply to create muscle tissue, which is the main component of the meat we eat. It is biologically exactly the same as the meat tissue that comes from a cow. The cells grow into strands. 20,000 of these small strands of meat are then combined to create one normal sized hamburger.
Where do the cells come from?
From cows raised on organic farms. Two samples were used, one from a Blanc Blue Belge cow raised at a farm in Belgium. The second was from a Blond Aquitaine cow.
What evidence is there that Cultured Beef will be better for the environment?
Livestock contributes substantially to climate change through the release of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more than potent carbon dioxide. The WHO prediction of a doubling in global demand for meat over the next 40 years will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Current methods of producing meat are inefficient because of the amount of land that needs to be given over to the production of grain for feed. Pigs and cows transform only 15% of vegetable proteins into edible animal proteins. The production of Cultured Beef promises to be far more efficient as it can be done in a controlled environment. A life cycle analysis by Hannah Tuomisto of the University of Oxford confirms large reductions in the usage of land, energy and water in the production of Cultured Beef, compared to obtaining beef through livestock. What’s more, Cultured Beef could be produced near population centers, reducing the carbon impact of transporting beef, as it will not be dependent on large areas of land.
Is Cultured Beef safe to eat?
Yes. The beef is produced from beef cells and during the production process there are no chemicals added. The beef is cultured with the help of natural nutrients. The food technology methods that will be used to add taste and texture are food industry standard and internationally recognized. Arguably, Cultured Beef is safer than farmed beef, as scientists eradicate the risk of human disease contracted from livestock.
When will Cultured Beef be available to buy?
Of course, it is hard to predict this sort of thing, but we might see Cultured Beef, and other cultured meats, available commercially within 10 to 20 years.
Can you make other meats using culturing techniques?
Yes. We chose beef because it is so popular and uses a lot of resources to grow it, but culturing other farmed meat would be possible.
How much did this burger cost?
The burger cost more than €250,000 to produce as this is still very novel science, but high costs today are a small price to pay for the potential future benefits of Cultured Beef to all of mankind. It is important to remember that Cultured Beef is intended as step towards a solution to some pressing problems in global food production, not just an expensive burger. In the long run Cultured Beef could be cheaper than conventionally farmed beef, and certainly better for the environment.