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Phil & Mel In The Morning

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The rise in plant-based foods is changing the way we eat. It’s remarkable how products from companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods can deliver the texture and flavor of meat. But not everyone is willing to give up real meat entirely, only the way it has traditionally been raised.

The Washington Post reports that several food companies are presenting new alternative protein products, or so-called “cultivated meats.” Essentially, it’s meat grown in a laboratory using living animal cells. An Israeli company, Aleph Farms, has unveiled the first 3D-printed rib-eye steak. Lab-grown meat could hit the U.S. market as soon as regulatory approval is granted.

Other companies like Future Meat Technologies, Meatable, Memphis Meats, and Mosa Meat hope to have similar products on the market next year. This way of producing protein isn’t limited to red meat. BlueNalu, which is based in San Diego, is planning to launch cell-based seafood later this year.

The USDA and FDA don’t have their regulations in place yet, but it sounds like it’s only a matter of time before lab-grown steaks, seafood, and poultry become available to the public. I’m interested to see how consumers respond. Some will be drawn to these products because the cells are taken from living animals. The slaughterhouse has been removed from the equation. Will that make a difference to someone who is an ethical vegetarian or vegan?

As with any new product, there will be skeptics, but other countries are starting to get on board. Singapore became the first to grant regulatory approval for the sale of cultivated meat. And upon trying cultivated steak, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “It’s delicious and guilt-free, I can’t taste the difference.”

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