Are There Problems with Lab-Grown Meat?
It's cool technology, but sometimes a simpler solution is all that's needed.
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The recent announcement that lab-grown meat has been approved for sale in Singapore is being described as a victory for scientific innovation, animal welfare, human health, and environmentalism. It is a truly impressive feat, the production of edible meat from cells that doesn't harm a single animal in the making. But could there be problems with it? Might all the enthusiasm be a bit premature?
"The presence of these foods on the market — with their carefully engineered extraction and concentration of ingredients understood as having significant impact on health — reinforces the idea that access to healthful eating requires going through the technological and scientific expertise found in the industrial food laboratory."
Author Jenny Kleeman has a similar take, writing that developing cellular agriculture deepens our reliance on "remote corporations with highly specialised technology to meet our basic needs" – not necessarily something that we should be encouraging (particularly when COVID-19's grocery store shortages highlighted just how dependent we already are on distant supply chains).
"Instead of waiting for it to be ready, the company found a country with more amenable standards to give it the green light to put its product on sale. That’s problematic for the entire cultured meat industry: consumers care more about the provenance of food now than ever before, and any producer of a new food needs to be seen to take regulatory standards seriously."