Within three to five years, believe experts within the field, we will be seeing cultured meat as a prototypically possible food source.
“It’s like designing a new universe,” says Isha Datar, the CEO of New Harvest, a non-profit organisation aiming to create everything from burgers to silk from cell cultures.
This means that we will no longer be bound to raise and slaughter animals, feed them for a decade and wash and rinse their feces off the meat before it’s shipped out. It will be clean, through this incredibly new process.
The first instance of this was in 2013, when a group of scientists produced a hamburger, purely from stem cell-grown meat. It wasn’t cheap at the time, costing €300,000 and a year of production time (for the one burger). Now, things are speeding up and the technology looks viable.
Paul Mozdziak from North Carolina State University and his colleagues, who are working on producing cultured turkey meat, explain that we can pass the cells around in a free-to-share manner to quickly benefit the human race. “It would be like open-source software,” he says. “The cells are the code.” Similar to how bakers share sourdough starters, meat makers will be able to purchase cell lines available for order from lab supply catalogues.
From here, the food will be grown, similar to brewing beer, in a keg or bioreactor. This is not satire.