Adam Smith Institute: Lab Grown Meat, The Future?

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The Adam Smith Institute has suggested large scale production of lab created meat protein could create a more sustainable and nutritious food source than current food production methods.

The Westminster based think tank suggests that the greenhouse gasses could be reduced by nearly 96% and free up 99% of farming land currently used to rear livestock.

As of 2018 lab grown meats are not commercially available but could be put into production by the end of this year.

The process involves taking cells from animals and cultivating the protein into an edible meat product:

  • “Demand for meat has grown along with incomes. During the 1960s meat consumption in East Asia stood at just 8.7kg per person, thirty year later that figure was 37.7kg – an increase of over 330%. This increased demand has meant huge swathes of land given over to meat production. While 19 people can be fed from just a single hectare of rice, only one can person can be fed per hectare dedicated to cattle.
     
  • Lab grown (or cultured) meat could mean a cut in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions of 78-96% while using 99% less land. 
     
  • While growing meat in a lab has been difficult to master, and costly to engineer, the price has been falling. Just five years ago the cost of a burger made with meat grown in a lab stood at $250,000, but now the price tag has dropped to just £8. 
     
  • Cultured meat has the potential to solve the looming antibiotic resistance crisis. With farming using up to 70% of antibiotics critical to medical use in humans, cases of resistance are on the rise, driven by intensive farming practices.
     
  • Cultured meat will also reduce cases of food poisoning as, unlike on farms, growth takes place under controlled conditions.”

Dr Madsen Pirie (also of this Parish) told Sky News this morning:

“We can produce the same amount of meat in factories on 1% of the land it presently takes us to do it”

“It’s sustainable, environmentally friendly, we don’t have to cut down rainforests to plant crops to feed animals if you’re growing it in factories.”

You can read the Adam Smith Institutes report co-authored by Jamie Hollywood and Dr. Madsen Pirie here

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Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

I’d like to see the justification for the greenhouse gas thing. Cows do indeed fart, but they eat grass and gut/stomach bacteria digest it. If left in the field, different bacteria will digest the grass and emit the methane. Which doesn’t last long in the atmosphere. Lab-grown meat will in fact find a place in the market but it won’t replace proper meat. Anybody tried it? How does it taste/feel.

Lab-grown chicken featured in Kornbluth and Pohl’s classic ‘The Space Merchants’, 1952.

john77
Member
john77

Factory-produced protein to replace meat has been going for nearly 50 years. ICI were doing it in the early ’70s. It didn’t become a best-seller because in those days there was a lot of distrust of artificial “food” and then we got the Wilson-Healey hyper-inflation which particularly hit ICI’s input costs so it became priced out of its export markets (input costs rose faster than the £ fell) and it didn’t want to spend on a product for the twenty-first century at the expense of surviving to 1980. Someone else kept going but there are still only modest volumes sold… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

Quorn is derived from yeast/fungus (and tastes as good as that sounds). The article is about culturing real animal cells to produce something much closer to ‘natural’ meat.

Spike
Member

My local supermarket has several meat-ish products that are based on tofu.

Spike
Member

We are not running out of land! If your island is, the answer is to locate the livestock somewhere else and buy what you need. The problem is to sell the public products it wants at a price it elects to pay. The problem is not “sustainability” or “animal rights.” We have approached the left’s myth of catastrophic human-caused global warming or cooling with the Pigouvian Tax, “gentler” than prohibition or outright enslavement of humans, and we now have a techie solution to the left’s fixation on not eating meat. This despite the evidence that the more time the right… Read more »

john77
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john77

Spike Our archipelago is not running out of land where we can locate livestock – just out of land where it is economic to do so (and the CAP only allows us to produce a modest fraction of the milk that we consume so that we can be an export market for the French dairy farmers [no: I am not joking, that is on record], so there is less veal produced). There is a limited amount of land suitable for arable farming and towns tend to get built on it, but if you can find a shepherd to look after… Read more »

Spike
Member

John, assuming that Britain gets free of the CAP, land use regulation will still remain to make ranching uneconomic. So the issue should be land use regulation, not finding high-tech ways to manufacture meat without using land. If Britain is getting overbuilt to the detriment of agriculture, the eager recruitment of foreigners should also be on the table. (Here too.)

john77
Member
john77

Spike, Ranching will always be uneconomic in the UK – the whole of the UK (including a large number of miscellaneous islands each of which I could walk across/round in a day but in total make up tens of thousands of acres) is about one-third of the size of Texas. The only decent-sized fairly flat areas are used for arable farming or (Salisbury Plain) by the Army.
Land use regulations are not the problem

Spike
Member

Cattle do not require that their spaces be either decent-sized or fairly flat or look like Texas. But if finding suitable spaces puts the cost too high, again, please buy from us! in exchange for what you do best, only not blackcurrant-flavored candies, please.

[Ooh, lookit the Edit button!]

john77
Member
john77

Wensleydale with cranberries?
Actually it is Scotch Whisky – that you make a big thing of inventing inferior copies speaks volumes.

Spike
Member

No, just that blackcurrant-flavored Skittles are a rude awakening when a Yank sees a purplish one and thinks Grape.

TD
Member
TD

It’s hard not to see a certain irony comparing the support for lab grown meat vs the howling about GMO grains, fruits and vegetables.

Southerner
Member

Complete with obligatory obeisance to Warble Gloaming.

Bloke in Cyprus
Member
Bloke in Cyprus

At what point would you say the prayer to produce a halal version…?

john77
Member
john77

When you ask Allah to provide it with a throat to cut so that you can bleed it to death …

Southerner
Member

“While 19 people can be fed from just a single hectare of rice” is a joke, right? 19 people can be malnourished, all right, but not fed in the sense of a balanced diet. In fact that’s what Golden Rice is about, to prevent deaths and blindness resulting from an all-rice diet.