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Meat Without Slaughter: Would You Eat Lab-Grown Meat?

Lab-grown meat is coming in hot and fast as a sustainable, cruelty-free alternative to regular meat. But how is it made? And does it taste any good?

Dr Sophie Calabretto and Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler put cultivated meat to the taste test and run through some of the wild lab meat ideas manufacturers have in the works.

A study in 2022 from the international journal of Life Cycle Assessment looked at a hypothetical life cycle of cultivated meat production in the year 2030.

They found that cultivated meat was nearly three times more efficient at turning crops into meat than even the “most efficient” livestock.

In Australia, an innovative food company called the Magic Valley develops healthy and delicious cultivated meat products.

Andrew Laslett, the head of research development at Magic Valley, says the cultivated meat dumplings taste “absolutely delicious”.

However, Mr Laslett says that no matter how good they taste or how much they taste like actual meat, cultivated meat will not take over traditional agriculture.

“There’s always going to be a portion of society that are going to want their meat made in an ideal theoretical farm with animals treated differently,” Me Laslett said.

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“The problem is that there are not that many of them. We should give people a choice that is affordable and sustainable and difficult,” he added.

Another company called Vow recently created a so-called mammoth meatball. They collaborated with the Australian Institute for Bioengineering at the University of Queensland to create the mammoth muscle protein.

“They retrieved the DNA sequenced from mammoth myoglobin, which is the key muscle protein, and filled in a few gaps using elephant DNA”, Bowler said.

“It is at least partially myoglobin from an animal that’s been extinct for thousands of years. So they didn’t really know how human bodies would react,” Bowler added.

Tune into the full episode of Science Explained with host, Dr Sophie Calabretto to hear the full recap of this month’s discoveries. 

Introducing The Science Briefing: a podcast about the science of everything and your new go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine.