Cultivated food

Getting lab-grown meat and milk to the table

By Bob Holmes

Beef, chicken, and dairy made from cultured cells could offer a smaller footprint than conventional farms. Companies are working on scaling up and bringing prices down.

Diners at the swanky Atelier Crenn restaurant in San Francisco expect to be served something unusual. After all, the venue boasts three Michelin stars and is widely considered to be one of the world’s top restaurants.

These chicken pieces — being grilled at a street vendor’s stall in Singapore — are the first cellular meat products to be sold commercially. The company that made them, Good Meat, is working toward gaining approval for these and other products in the United States as well.

But if all goes according to plan, there will soon be a new dish on the menu that truly is remarkable: chicken that was never part of a living bird.

The first meat from cultured cells was produced in 2013 by Mark Post (pictured) and his colleagues at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The patty shown here (raw on left, cooked on right) cost an estimated 250,000 euros (about $330,000). Costs have come down since then, but cellular meat is still more expensive than conventional meat.

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Knowable Magazine

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