Tying together cutting-edge research, government reports, and academic testimonials, The Washington Post concludes in a recent article that clean (i.e., cultured) meat may have substantial benefits over conventional meat. In “Lab-grown meat is in your future, and it may be healthier than the real stuff,” the Post’s Marta Zaraska looks at the impacts of clean and conventional meat on consumer health, the environment, and culinary experience. The bottom line? Clean meat offers benefits across the board.
With the global demand for meat rising, creating a sustainable food supply, particularly moving away from animal agriculture, is more important than ever. Zaraska cites a 2011 study that calculated clean meat’s reduced environmental footprint. She writes that “growing meat in labs would cut down on the land required to produce steaks, sausages and bacon by 99 percent and reduce the associated need for water by 90 percent.”
Researchers also say that clean meat is healthier for us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that pathogens in conventional meat are the most common cause of fatal foodborne illness. Clean meat is completely free of dangerous bacteria because it is produced in a sterile environment. Further, conventional meat contains antibiotics and hormones, which a European Commission report linked to carcinogenic effects in humans. Clean meat does not require antibiotics or hormones, making it a safer product for consumers.
The health benefits of clean meat are even more expansive. Conventional meat naturally contains a harmful substance called heme iron, which has been shown to damage DNA and increase cancer risk. Clean meat can be made completely free of heme iron, making for a “colon-safer product,” according to Graham Colditz, a cancer researcher at Washington University in St. Louis.
As for the taste of clean meat, Zaraska writes that “those who have tasted these items say they barely differ from the real deal.”
The article quotes Uma Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats, on his prediction for the future of clean animal products: “In just a few years, we expect to be selling protein-packed pork, beef and chicken that tastes identical to conventionally raised meat but that is cleaner, safer and all-around better than meat from animals grown on farms.”
The Good Food Institute supports innovative companies and researchers who are making clean animal products a reality. Visit our website to learn how we can help you.