The safety of artificial meat

With real meat, there's always a risk of contamination with bacteria after slaughter. Artificial meat is produced in a highly controlled environment and said to be safer than the real thing.

There are concerns over the growth factors added to stem cells, such as hormones, as overexposure in artificial meat can cause harmful health effects in humans. Growth hormones have been banned in agriculture in the EU since 1982.

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Artificial meat

Artificial meat is grown from animal cells in a laboratory and includes beef, pork, chicken and fish. It is also known as cultured meat or cell-based meat.

There are various ways to grow artificial meat. One way is to take adult stem cells from a small muscle sample from a live animal (under local anaesthetic.) The stem cells are then put in salts, vitamins, sugars, proteins, and growth factors. The oxygen-rich environment allows cells to multiply. The meat is ready in a few weeks.

A US consultancy firm Kearney suggests that 35 per cent of all meat consumed globally will be artificial by 2040. It can be produced faster and more efficiently.

Livestock produces a large proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, a study at Oxford University suggested that the CO2 emissions from artificial meat production facilities could be more damaging to the planet in the long run.

Artificial meat is full of protein. The nutritional content can be controlled by experimenting with the levels of saturated fatty acids and healthier polyunsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fats can be replaced with omega-3s, and extra micronutrients such as vitamin B12 can be added.

But eating too much meat is harmful to your health, and while artificial meat may be slightly better, plant-based meat alternatives may still be the healthiest option.

  • The first artificial beef burger was unveiled in 2013. It was reportedly dry and dense because it only consisted of muscle fibres.
  • A suitable meat replacement needs smell, texture and taste. Flavour molecules contribute to real meat's flavour. While synthetic flavours can be added to artificial meat, it isn't easy to create a good balance.
  • Since 2013, a Dutch company claims to reprogram cells collected from bovine umbilical cord blood, turning them to master cells that can grow fat or muscle cells.

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Understanding how long food lasts

Should humanity face a nuclear apocalypse of worldwide war, we need to understand which foods might be safe for survivors to eat, and how long the foods will last.

To understand this, we need to ask what makes food spoil.

Meat might have finally met its match. Some meat is now being cultured and grown into slabs that mimic meat.

It currently goes by names such as in-vitro meat, cultured meat, lab-grown meat and clean meat.

Meanings of “protein”

Protein is a macronutrient, a family of molecules made of amino acids. It is found in many different food items like meat and legumes. Even grains and leafy vegetables have some. Plant-based or animal-based proteins have varying amounts of protein and are not an even swap.

Protein is also colloquially referred to like food that used to be known as the "meat group" like fish or beef.

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