A Bay Area-based startup called Memphis Meats has figured out how to make a real meatball in the lab using beef cells, no livestock required.
As if it wasn’t weird enough that a guy from India, up in northern California, would grow beef muscle in a petri dish – the business is named “Memphis Meats.” Riiiight….
The lab-grown meat process goes something like this, according to CEO Uma Valeti. Find ultra-high quality cows and pigs. Take meat cells from a pork shoulder or other cut of meat. Find the cells capable of self-renewal and cultivate them in a sterile environment. The cells are harvested early for tender cuts of meat, and harvested later for textured cuts.
No one making lab-grown meat, including Memphis Meats, has gotten around the fact that they need to use fetal bovine serum, which comes from unborn calves, to start the cell culture process. That means lab-grown meat, as of now, still requires the use of real animals. But Valeti told the Wall Street Journal that he’ll be able to replace the serum with “something plant-based” in the near future.
(A paid spokesperson, obviously)
“Mama mia! That’s a spicy ball of fetal bovine serum!”
As a liberal, I’m all for scientific advancements that contribute environmental sustainability, but this is a hard NO. I’m sorry, but I’m not on board with my cheeseburger being generated in a lab. Granted, I’m not a scientist and don’t know what the actual growth process looks like, but I can’t imagine that it looks remotely natural. If the cows were being cloned in a lab to later be used as livestock, then maybe I could justify it, but this just doesn’t sit well with me. If it comes down to eating lab meats or becoming Vegan, fire up the grill and grab me a quinoa burger.