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Common Misconceptions of Lab Grown Meat

Published on
Jan 27, 2023
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Lab grown meat and cellular agriculture aren't immune from the skepticism and misinformation that often meet disruptive shifts in culture. We've assembled the most common misconceptions about lab grown meat and paired them with the actual facts.

Key Terms

Cellular Agriculture: Growing food products from cells in a controlled environment rather than within an animal or traditional crop.

Cell-Based Foods: Foods produced from cellular agriculture.

Cultivated Meat: Meat produced from cellular agriculture.

Lab-Grown Meat: The most common general description of cultivated meat.

Misconception: Lab grown meat isn't real meat.

Lab-grown meat is produced from animal cells, and therefore is a form of real meat. At a molecular level, lab grown meat is no different from traditionally-farmed meat. The only difference is where the cells grow (in a controlled bioreactor - similar to craft beer - rather than on a living animal that then needs to be slaughtered.

Misconception: Lab grown meat isn't safe to eat.

Lab-grown meat has been found to be safe to eat by various research studies, and is expected to be held to the same safety standards as traditional meat. In November 2022, the US FDA completed an evaluation of Upside Foods' lab grown chicken, and officially ruled it safe for human consumption in the country's first approval for a cultivated meet product.

Misconception: Lab grown meat contains soy and unhealthy/unsafe ingredients.

Lab-grown meat is produced from animal cells, not soy, tofu, or plants designed to mimic the taste and texture of meat. Because lab grown meat is produced in a controlled environment, it is significantly less likely to contain the common contaminants, antibiotics, and food-borne diseases that consistently plague traditional livestock farming.

Misconception: Lab grown meat won't work because it is too expensive.

While lab-grown meat is currently more expensive to produce than traditional meat, as the technology improves, costs are expected to decrease significantly, making it more accessible to consumers. In Singapore, luxury restaurant 1880 has been serving cultured chicken since 2021. It is likely that the rollout of lab grown meat will begin at higher-end establishments and for premium meats, travelling down market is systems scale and production reaches price parity with traditional meat.

Misconception: Lab grown meat tastes gross.

Most people have not yet tried lab-grown meat, so this opinion is total conjecture. Early taste tests from those invited to tasting events have shown that lab grown meat can be indistinguishable from traditional meat.

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