The UN has raised attention to the increasing meat consumption and its negative effect on climate change and the environment. The simple solution is to consume less meat and more vegetables. But this is easier said than done, especially for populations that heavily consume meat. An alternative to this growing problem is creating cultured or lab-grown meat.
What is cultured meat?
Cultured meat is like biomimicry but done with meat. The meat is cultivated in labs, going through several processes to culture. It first comes from a live animal’s stem cells separated from muscle cells.
The biopsy or sample is taken from cows, chickens, ducks, shrimp, rabbits, and tuna. Scientists create a duplicate of it without slaughtering any animal by:
- culturing the stem cells
- placing them in a warm sterile vessel, and
- augmenting the growth medium and nutrients required for prefiltration such as, salt, proteins, and carbohydrates to multiply the cells in 24 hours.
After which, these transform into muscle cells and fat cells. These cells will be formatted into a slice of regular meat.
Taste and health benefits
Are you becoming sad thinking about burgers without meat? Well, you may not get bones and skins of real meat in cultured meat but the flavors will remain intact. To test this out, scientists first cultivated meat products into chicken nuggets and burgers just to understand if it tastes the same or not. The world’s first burger made of cultured meat was tasted back in 2013.
Scientists found that cultured meat is free from any sort of antibiotics. While antibiotics are important to give to cattle to keep them free from diseases, these are also highly overused. Lab-grown meat is also healthier since the fat content can be restrained while the saturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids can be also implemented in moderation. Currently, scientists are also trying to add vitamins to it.
Creating a better world
The Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that, by 2050, the number of global meat consumption will increase by 76%. Changing our eating habits and shifting to plant-based food may curb this issue. Not only will it positively affect our health, but we also get to help out the environment.
The Plant-Based Treaty is offering a roadmap to inspire the plant-based food system in response to the environmental emergency. Recently, it was launched at COP26 in Glasgow to grab worldwide attention regarding the regular food habit. It got an endorsement from the McCartney family, along with others, and has urged delegates to be a part of the movement.
The Plant Based Treaty aims to prevent further degradation of the ecosystem and promote a plant-based diet to live healthier. The treaty lies on three key principles:
- Relinquish the land for ecosystem degradation or deforestation for the expansion of animal agriculture
- Redirect the policies in favor of a plant-based food system
- Restore the ecosystems for reforesting the earth
Starting with a motto to change our consumption, the Plant Based Treaty is for everyone to raise awareness for people to take better care of their environment. This includes their advocacy towards cultured meat or lab-grown meat which can hopefully result in positively changing the earth and our health.
The future of meat is here. Just a little help from technological progression has made us grow meat in laboratories. Cultured meat will help to change our eating habits. Even health specialists are suggesting increasing dependency on plant-based food to live a healthy life. If a little change in our daily lifestyle can give us a better life and let us have a better world to live in, then why not?
YouTube: What Is the Plant Based Treaty?
Photo credit: The feature image has been taken by Sarah Stierch. The first image has been taken by the World Economic Forum. The second image is owned by the Plant Based Treaty and has been provided for press usage.