Cell-Based Meat Benefits Include Helping Save Our Future, Advocates Say

Would you eat it?

By now you’ve likely heard about the concept: “clean” meat, they call it.

A small sample of stem cells is taken from a cow or a chicken, and those cells are cultivated to make edible meat, without having to raise or slaughter an animal to acquire it.

If you’re already onboard with this idea, you’re part of a growing appetite for cell-based meat. If you’re still iffy, get ready to “Meat the Future.”

That’s the name of a documentary that follows Memphis Meats, one of the players in the rapidly growing industry of cell-based meat. Memphis Meats is in a race to perfect its product and replicate the look, feel texture and taste of animal-harvested meat and bring it to your plate at a reasonable price.

The film is currently screening online via the Hot Docs festival, and the timing couldn’t be more appropriate, given the precarious era we’re in, says one advocate from the film.

Breaded chicken cutlet cultivated from cells? It's a real thing now, thanks to Memphis Meats. 
Breaded chicken cutlet cultivated from cells? It's a real thing now, thanks to Memphis Meats. 

“With the pandemic, people are thinking more and more about the insecurity of the supply chains that bring our food to us,” Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute told HuffPost Canada. “The supply chain that brings meat to us is really fragile, and we’ve seen that with meat shortages, with plant closures, with COVID outbreaks in the slaughterhouses.”

Friedrich said cell-based meat can circumvent all those issues, plus relieve the need for antibiotics and reduce the risk of contamination. And the film’s director, Liz Marshall, said it can also provide a solution to the huge environmental and ethical costs of animal farming.

“Currently there is between 70 and 100 billion land animals around the globe that are slaughtered every year for food,” she said. “This is an unsustainable situation.”

Marshall said animal agriculture takes up about 45 per cent of the world’s land surface area, and that it produces at least 14.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Clean meat, she believes, is one answer to these enormous problems.

Still not biting? Watch the video above to hear more from Marshall and Friedrich, and decide for yourself.

Video by Shetu Modi, text by Lisa Yeung.

Also on HuffPost: