From lab to reality

Maybe 4 years ago I mentioned lab burgers – first shown to the world in summer 2013 - at a conference and pointed out some repercussions for the pet food industry should the lab burgers become commercially viable. At that time I was met with a fair degree of skepticism. People found it difficult to let the idea sink in that traditional rearing and fattening of beef-cattle (or other animal species for that matter) could be replaced by an engineered process.

 

Looking at the situation 4 years later, I must conclude that utopia has transformed into reality; well, almost!

 

Rumours have it that the first factory meat is commercially available before the end of this year. Nothing less than goose-liver – or foie gras – because liver-cells are more easy to culture than muscle-cells. And the cultured wagyu steak already seems in the making. And because the stem-cell will be taken from a pure/clean animal, claims such as “without anti-biotics or hormones” will no longer be necessary. We’re entering the age of healthy meat!

 

Investors of repute and with ill-feelings about the planets future take a shine to cultured meat. They put their money where their heart is. Factories with an industrial capacity are being built, intiatives to further develop and commercialise factory meat are being taken. Companies such as Just and Mosa Meat have been founded.

 

My thought some 4 years was – and still is – that factory meat will become a reality. And that therefore the availability – also for the pet food industry – of usable by-products will come under more pressure than it is already today. After all, factory meat does not work with animals that need to be slaughtered and we only produce what we like to eat. No more by-products! Certainly if we understand (there seems to be some scientific basis for this) that ONE bovine stem-cell can produce up to 100.000 hamburgers. How many feed-lots do you then need to supply McDonalds?

 

Sir Winston Churchill already said 80 years ago or so that it is absurd that we had grow a whole chicken to just eat the breast and the wings. And he predicted in Fifty years hence that we would be able to grow the parts that we wanted seperately. Although we are a few decades behind Sir Winston’s schedule it now looks as if his prediction becomes reality.

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