Meat

Cultured Meat Turkey to Your Table?

A regulatory pact between FDA and USDA may help speed up getting lab-grown meats to your local supermarket.

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TurkeyDinnerBhofack2Dreamstime
Bhofack2/Dreamstime

Turkey grown in bioreactors may someday grace American tables to mark our annual Thanksgiving celebration. The number of companies aiming to bring lab-grown meat and poultry to our supermarkets is rapidly proliferating. Also known as cellular agriculture, the technology involves producing meat from cultured animal muscle and fat cells by growing them in a bioreactor rather than harvesting steaks and chops from slaughtered livestock on a farm. These include Israel-based Future Meat Technologies (chicken), Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats (duck and chicken), Tel Aviv-based Supermeat (chicken), Netherlands-based Mosa Meat (beef and pork), and San Francisco-based The Wild Type (salmon), among others.

The goal is produce "clean meat" using less land, water, and feed, and a product that is cheaper than conventional meat. For example, Memphis Meats claims that it can grow animal-free products using just 1 percent of the land and 1 percent of the water consumed by conventional meat producers. Future Meat Technologies believes that it can cut the cost of cellular agriculture to about $2.30 to $4.50 a pound by 2020. The price of a pound of ground chuck averaged $3.70 last month.

Good news is that last week, the murky regulatory environment for clean meat in the U.S. was clarified when the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced how the two agencies plan to oversee the commercialization of cultured meat products. In a statement, the two agencies agreed on "a joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry."

If the framework that the two agencies develop really turn out to be not too onerous, some companies ambitiously claim that their products could hit supermarkets before Thanksgiving next year.

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  1. The traditional presidential pardoning of the Thanksgiving Petri dish.

  2. Get out and shoot your own turkey to eat for the holidays. Delicious!

    1. “Shoot your own turkey”, is that some sort of euphemism, and if so, for what?

    2. I doubt you ever hunted in your life. Otherwise you would know that Georgia doesn’t even have a fall turkey season.

      1. Florida does. I think other surrounding states might but I’m not checking. You never heard of cars? I drive to Alabama to hunt a couple times a year.

        1. There’s these things called “freezers” too.

      2. But Texas does. Yum.

        There are sustainable populations of turkey in every state but Alaska.

        1. Until I perfect the ice turkey genome. They have a layer of blubber like a seal.

        2. Hawaii

      3. Georgia doesn’t even have a fall turkey season.

        I was just looking up Virginia;s Ham Season. I don’t think it’s in this year’s handbook.
        Okay then, bacon season?

      4. Hahaha. You shoot them on your own property, retard.

        Your fucking Lefties and your asking permission to hunt on your own property.

        I shoot deer anytime I want too. If theyre on my property and my freezer gets low…blammo.

        1. It was delicious too.

          Family had a great Thanksgiving with some fried turkey.

  3. It’s sad that this is the most ambitious technological achievement of our time. And then what?

    1. Why is it sad?
      Why do you think this is the most ambitious technological achievement of our time?
      Then what? More, better, faster, cheaper, why do you ask?

      1. Because there’s nothing left for kids to look forward to achieving. No more moon shots. I feel like you’re just proving my point.

        1. Trust me, there’ll be newer, cooler stuff. You just don’t know what it is yet, but in my time, we’re looking at sodas that convey emotion along with taste, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        2. Humans will never stop innovating.

    2. “For example, Memphis Meats claims that it can grow animal-free products using just 1 percent of the land and 1 percent of the water consumed by conventional meat producers. ”

      Looks like a huge achievement. A transformative achievement.

      But it’s hardly the most ambitious. Those trying to conquer death probably have that claim.

  4. No doubt Ronnie will be the first in line to try plastic turkey…

    1. Bailey or Filyaw?

      (both)

      1. Make it a nugget and Filyaw will talk.

    2. It must taste really weird but who knows it might be the norm in the future.

  5. I have the suspicion that I Can’t Believe It’s Not Turkey! is going to be indistinguishable from natural turkey the same way saccharine is indistinguishable from sugar. Lab-grown meat is going to be “perfect” meat and you’re going to have the “uncanny valley” effect where something’s a little off about the meat but you’re not quite sure what it is. But you don’t need a very discerning palate to tell the difference between wild turkey and farm-raised turkey or wild boar and farm-raised pork, there are “imperfect” variations in the meat that give it a unique flavor. “Gamy” may seem like it’s an acquired taste, but that’s how real meat really tastes, it’s the factory-farm flavor of meat (bland to the point of tastelessness) that humans had to acquire a taste for. Growing the meat in a lab is probably going to make the (lack of) taste problem worse if they’re going to filter out all the little unnecessary garbage bits of the meat and the meat production that are what actually give it its flavor. It’s the same with eggs and milk and anything you buy at the store that advertises “Homemade Taste!” If you can’t tell the difference between a made-from-scratch cathead biscuit and a can of Pillsbury, by all means, enjoy the technoturkey.

    1. Of course it will taste different. Why else would people pay out of their ass for pork from pigs raised on acorns?

    2. Technoturkey was my n

  6. Ron, how would you feel about lab-grown human meat for consumption?

    1. Personally, I’d think it’d be a great way to determine which gene strains need to be removed from the population.

      1. You would approve of eugenics to make humans more delicious?

    2. I am sure Ron prefers to kill and butcher his human meat the ole fashioned way.

      It’s homo-tastier!

      1. as long as it is cultured…

      2. I knew I would have the opportunity to link to this article on Reason when I bookmarked it yesterday:

        A woman in the United Arab Emirates has been arrested and accused of killing and cooking her lover of seven years, then serving his remains to a group of unsuspecting workers near her home.

        The Moroccan national, whose name has not been disclosed, is under investigation by Al Ain Public Prosecution for the alleged murder after a tooth was discovered in her blender, Abu Dhabi’s English language newspaper The National reported this week. Police believe the murder took place about three months ago, but was only recently discovered after the missing lover’s family raised concerns.

        Initially, the woman denied any involvement in the man’s disappearance, according to police. However, after further questioning, she allegedly admitted that she killed him in a moment of “insanity” and that she wanted revenge for being dumped. The unidentified man, who also hailed from Morocco, reportedly told her that he planned to marry another woman despite the accused having helped support him financially throughout their relationship.

        That reminds me, if anyone sees J, tell him to call me. I got an email from him this morning telling me he’s sorry and he wants to make sure he has friends in his life.

  7. Synturkey would be as deplorable an addition to the feast as tofu succotash.

    Big Vegan shoud start with cultured ortolans, and work its way down through partridge to pheasant and grouse.

  8. It still won’t be healthy for you, but at least there won’t be all that feces to find a way to deal with.

    1. I’m afraid that will become the normal healthy in the future.

  9. The interesting debates are likely to involve lab-grown meats such as horse, dog, cat (kitten?), and human and the voices for authoritarian regulation in those contexts.

    1. Moving on from the success of Chick-a-cube stackable cubic eggs, Big CRISPR should take on Big Hot Dog by sequencing Kitty Liter, the easy to slice ten centimeter boneless cat

  10. using just 1 percent of the land and 1 percent of the water consumed by conventional meat producers

    Land, maybe. But meat producers don’t “consume” water, they borrow it, in one end and out the other. The amount of water on Earth is nearly constant, except for a bit broken up into hydrogen and oxygen and a trickle added by meteors.

    1. The amount available for human use is limited, because we get it through rainfall unless we spend a large amount to desalinate seawater.

    2. Actually, most of that trickle is probably from plasma ejected by the Sun (the misnamed “solar wind”). People forget that gigantic ball of plasma in the glow-discharge mode we orbit (as well as the countless others throughout the universe) supply us with a constant bombardment of charged particles.

  11. Where does PETA stand on this, currently? The last i read, they were opposed to it, just because.

    1. PETA probably objects to monkey bread, bear claws, blood oranges, Eskimo pies and baby carrots.

      1. Titus Adronicus loves Eskimo pies.

    2. The PETA seems doesn’t have much to say about this kind of food process.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving, you turkeys!

    1. Happy Thanksgiving to all you miscreants and philistines!!!

  13. Supermeat?

  14. If it is cheap, affordable and passed the inspection, people would still buy it.

  15. It is meat, and if becomes cheap and readily available then bring it on I guess. I have a feeling that if that does become the case it will be a long time from now. I can’t imagine it being anything more than a pricey curio in the aisles of Wholefoods.

  16. I’d try it. If it tastes good I’d eat it again.If it is subsidized and/or real meat is taxed or otherwise regulatory- discouraged I’d probably boycott it. If real meat was outlawed I’d definitely poach fish, city-squirrels, pigeons and participate in a black market for the real thing.

    1. This technology seems the future of the meat and food industry.

  17. Reason even wants to make your turkey gay.

  18. Frankenfood has the potential to eliminate world hunger. All that protein and so cheap. Could be revolutionary. Then again global population may skyrocket, causing massive outbreaks of violence as so many fight for so little space.

    1. No problem.

      The Kochs have spun up a subsidiary called Soylent to look into ways to profit from the scenario. The Free Market will always find a way!

  19. I am in the Killem” and grillem’ camp. No fake meat for me.

    1. Indeed. Nothing beats the reward of hunting effort.

  20. Lab Grown Meat….Yum….just like Grandma Frankenstein use to create in the laboratory….opps, in mean kitchen…!

  21. As a former vegan and vegetarian and a very eco-minded, Libertarian environmentalist, on the out-set, this sounds utopian… however, I am also a prepper and believe in creating my own food security. I don’t want to depend on scientists to feed me….I want to grow/raise/harvest/slaughter my own. Same reason am against GMOs… corporate control of the food supply. If you control the food, you control the people. Real meat and veggies from my land for me thank you.

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