This meatball was grown in a lab. © Memphis Meats
This meatball was grown in a lab. © Memphis Meats

Meatball grown in test tube is ‘future of meat’

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
15 February 2016

A company that has produced a meatball grown in a test tube has declared the development will “make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable”.

Memphis Meats presented the meatball (pictured) at a press conference in San Francisco, where it was cooked by a chef and presented on a bed of pasta, declaring it to be “absolutely the future of meat”.

CEO Uma Valeti said growing meat in a lab, known as cultured meat, produced 90% fewer CO2 emissions than traditional agricultural methods.

“We plan to do to animal agriculture what the car did to the horse and buggy,” he said. “Cultured meat will completely replace the status quo and make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable.”

Memphis Meats was set up by Valeti, a cardiologist, in partnership with a stem cell biologist and a biomedical engineer who owns a chain of barbecue restaurants in Memphis in the US.

The company said generating one calorie of beef required 23 calories in feed, whereas they could produce one calorie of meat from just three calories of inputs. Its products will be free of antibiotics and other contaminants found in conventional meat, the firm said.

Memphis Meats grows meat using cells from cows, pigs and chickens and it expects to be producing hot dogs, sausages, burgers and meatballs for the market in less than five years. The company is currently arranging venture capital.

In 2013 the world’s first lab grown burger was unveiled in London, funded by $330,000 put into the project by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. At the time one food expert said it was “close to meat, but not that juicy”.

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