I’m not a vegetarian, vegan or anything else like that. I eat meat all the time and do admit, it’s delicious! However I also acknowledge that it’s not the kindest thing to do to animals (perhaps that’s a bit of an understatement?) and I’ve given serious thought about largely reducing most of my meat intake or switching to an alternative like Clean Meat.

But Clean Meat has always been one of those future technologies or dreams that has never really existed in the real life “I’m going to the shop to buy it now” type of forms. However that is all about to change according to many companies out there who are apparently on the verge of releasing their products this year.

What Is Clean Meat?

A Clean Meat grown meatball made in 2016. Source: Memphis Meats

So the development of Clean Meat has been been going on now for many years and has always interested me. But Clean Meat isn’t anything super complicated, at its core it is just delicious tasting meat that is grown from cells rather than from killing the animal. As a result you can have a delicious meatball sub or fried chicken burger without harming any animals.

How Is Clean Meat Made?

To make Clean Meat they start by taking a small biopsy from the appropriate animal, say from a chicken. This biopsy can be tiny, the size of a grain of rice and be done by a veterinarian with the animal under anaesthesia so that they are not harmed or even feel a thing.

From there they isolate the muscle stem cells – or satellite cells – and grown them in specialised conditions.

Cell culture flasks with muscle cells growing inside

After the muscle cells grow enough they stop feeding them which causes them to stop growing and fuse together forming small muscle fiber precursors. At this point you take the grown meat and treat it just like you would any other meat. You can fry it up, make a stew or whatever you want.

Many different companies and labs have been working on this technology for years with Memphis Meats producing the delicious looking meatball shown above over 2 years ago.

Is Clean Meat Good For You?

As Clean Meat is grown in a fully controlled environment they can precisely control what goes into it and what doesn’t. A scientific clean lab is a long way from the likes of normal farms and meat factories that have faeces and diseased carcasses in them all the time often mixing in with the product.

This means you won’t have to worry about whether or not Clean Meat might give you e. coli, salmonella or prions. It can also be much better for you as they can add in healthier unsaturated fats at any level.

Now this might all sound a bit… different but the end result is really the thing that matters. So it’s great to hear that even with literally dozens of people trying it, they all raved about it saying it is delicious. Personally I’m quite excited to give it a try myself too, I mean just look at it! *drools*

A Southern Fried Chicken meal just recently launched. Source: Memphis Meats

When Can I Try Clean Meat?

Clean Meat for the most part is still in the labs but there are a number of companies on the brink of releasing real world, consumer facing products for you and I to try!

Just Foods is planning on releasing a product by the end of this year with Memphis Meats and Mosa Meats also wanting to release theirs shortly after. Here is a recent promo video by Memphis Meats with their delicious looking new Chicken and Duck products.

Obviously it’s very hard to give an exact date but I’m hopeful that this technology will absolutely take off. While first world countries have easy access to a huge array of meats it’s both not sustainable and also not very nice to the animals.

As the worlds population increases by the billions over the next few decades this technology could help feed all of us with high quality, safe and nutritious food. It could also hugely decrease the significant environmental impacts that livestock have on the planet and even save you money.

Not even considering the amount of land they take up, livestock are responsible for more than 18% of human-induces greenhouse gas emissions. Given that Clean Meat is a win for customers health, a win for animal treatment and rights, a win for the environment and a win for creating a more sustainable and accessible food chain it can’t get here fast enough.

Special thanks to hugthegiraffe for her informative research and topic description.

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