Laboratory-grown meat: Will you buy in?
The world’s first cultured meat hamburger was presented to the media in 2013.
Photo by World Economic Forum, Wikimedia.org.
February 10, 2020
 

Over a year ago, I made the decision to stop eating meat. I thought that since I had more control over what I eat while away at college, I could easily make this change. However, it wasn't very easy at first, but I powered through the first few months and finally got used to meatless meals. I’ll admit that there were times when I slipped up and ate meat, but I didn’t let these instances stop me. A vegetarian diet is one way to be more sustainable, but the rise of cultured meats may prove to be another option.

Dr. Anna Dilger is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In my ACES 399 class, I had the opportunity to listen to her presentation on laboratory cultivated meat, or meat produced by animal cells grown outside of the actual animal.

Dr. Dilger explained the controversy over correctly naming the meat, with terms such as “fake meat,” “clean meat,” and “meat 2.0.” In my opinion, I believe that “cultured meat” is the most fitting term. She also told us that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) came to an agreement to jointly regulate cultured meat, with each agency overseeing part of the process. I wonder what problems this may lead to in the future, or if it will work without any issue.

As cool as this product sounds, cultured meat won’t be put out on the market for a long time, because of the expensive cost of production and limits to how much can be produced with current research. It may take a long time to convince the public to get behind cultured meat, especially if it’s more expensive than farm and plant-based alternatives.

Would you be willing to try cultured meat? For me, learning about cultured meat has piqued my interest and I do want to try it when it becomes available.

Students in ACES 399: “Vision 2050 –Grand Challenges of the Millenium” attend presentations by ACES faculty members about current topics in agriculture. As part of their class assignments, students are asked to write blog posts reflecting on those topics. The Voices of ACES blog will feature select ACES 399 blog posts throughout the semester.