1. Health & Lifestyle

Be Ready for the ‘Vegetarian’ Laboratory Meat

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Nonvegetarians or meat eaters in India are reducing year by year and more people are becoming vegetarians. When on earth the human evolution came into the surface, the first fruit was Apple, the fruit of knowledge, and then the primitive human beings started the hunting animals and consuming the meat.  Now the society is heading towards the Laboratory made Meat. Is this meat vegetarian or comes under the category of non-vegetarian? 

The amount of meat in people’s diets has an impact on human health as well. Eaten in moderation, meat is a good source of protein and of important vitamins and nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamins B3, B6, and B12. But a diet high in red and processed meats can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. 
Eating organic, pasture-raised livestock can alleviate chronic health problems and improve the environment. Grass-fed beef contains less fat and more nutrients than its factory-farmed counterpart and reduces the risk of disease and exposure to toxic chemicals. Well-managed pasture systems can improve carbon sequestration, reducing the impact of livestock on the planet. And the use of fewer energy-intensive inputs conserves soil, reduces pollution and erosion, and preserves biodiversity. 

Further Highlights from the Research: 

  • Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry, beef, and mutton.

  • Poultry production is the fastest growing meat sector, increasing 4.7 percent in 2010 to 98 million tons.

  • Worldwide, per capita meat consumption increased from 41.3 kilograms in 2009 to 41.9kilograms in 2010. People In the developing world eat 32 kilograms of meat a year on average, compared to 80 kilograms per person in the industrial world.

  • Of the 880 million rural poor people living on less than $1 per day, 70 percent are partially or completely dependent on livestock for their livelihoods and food security.

  • Demand for livestock products will nearly double in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, from 200 kilocalories per person per day in 2000 to some 400 kilocalories in 2050.

  • Raising livestock accounts for roughly 23 percent of all global water use in agriculture, equivalent to 1.15 liters of water per person per day.

  • Livestock account for an estimated 18 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, producing 40 percent of the world’s methane and 65 percent of the world’s nitrous oxide.

  • Seventy-five percent of the antibiotics used on livestock are not absorbed by the animals and are excreted in waste, posing a serious risk to public health

  • An estimated 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption to the level of the group that ate the least.

  • Eating organic, pasture-raised animals can be healthier and environmentally beneficial compared to industrial feedlot systems.

  • Four years since the first lab hamburger was introduced, the cultured meat field is flourishing in Israel and abroad. Who knows what people will be grilling?

One of the world’s largest food producers is betting on Israeli technology to find ways to grow meat without raising or slaughtering animals.  Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies informed that it raised $2.2 million in a seed investment round co-led by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, Inc.Tyson Foods, based in Arkansas, US, is a Fortune 100 company and a processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork. Future Meat Technologies is a Jerusalem-based biotechnology compay that seeks to create cultured meat directly from animal cells through the production of fat and muscle cells, the core building blocks of meat, in a cost-effective manner. 

In addition to Tyson Ventures,  the Neto Group, one of the largest food conglomerates in Israel; S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based venture capital fund; BitsXBites, China’s first food technology venture capital fund; and Agrinnovation, an Israeli investment fund founded by Yissum, the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, also participated in the funding round, along with New York-based HB Ventures. 

Currently, cultured meat has a production price of about $10,000 per kilogram, Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, the Israeli founder and chief scientist of the startup said. “It is difficult to imagine cultured meat becoming a reality with a current production price,” he said in a statement.  “We redesigned the manufacturing process until we brought it down to $800 per kilogram today, with a clear roadmap to $5-10 per kg by 2020.” 

Tyson’s investment in Future Meat is a push to explore new ways of producing protein, Justin Whitmore, executive vice president, Corporate Strategy, and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods said in the statement.  “This is our first investment in an Israel-based company,” he said. “We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.” 

Animal fat produces the unique aroma and flavor of meat that “makes our mouth water,” noted Nahmias. Future Meat Technologies is at the moment the only company that can produce this fat without killing animals and without any genetic modification. “I want my children to eat meat that is delicious, sustainable and safe,” said Nahmias. “This is our commitment to future generations.” 

Global demand for protein and meat is growing at a rapid pace, with an estimated worldwide market of more than a trillion dollars, including explosive growth in China, the firm said. 

“We believe that making a healthy, non-GMO (genetically modified) product that can meet this demand is an essential part of our mission,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies.  Cultured meat production may also be eco-friendlier than traditional meat production, he said. 

Future Meat Technologies expects to use the funds to set up its engineering activities and increase its biological research. The company is currently recruiting engineers, chefs and scientists.  Future Meat’s technology is based on Nahmias’ research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is licensed through Yissum. 

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