Lab-Grown Meat Soon In Production - It Is The Future And Environmentally Friendly Says Think Tank

Lab-Grown Meat Soon In Production - It Is The Future And Environmentally Friendly Says Think Tank

The UK should start production of lab-grown meat in order to secure a more sustainable food source for the country, according to a think tank.

The Adam Smith Institute says moving away from an intensive meat industry would reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 96% and free up 99% of the land currently used in farming worldwide. Lab grown meat is not yet sold to the public, but there are firms in the US who aim to have products commercially available by the end of 2018.

It is produced by cultivating cells within tissue taken from an animal - a cow for instance - and growing them in a lab into an edible meat product.

Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute, said switching to lab-grown meat would have a huge impact.

"We can produce the same amount of meat in factories on 1% of the land it presently takes us to do it," he said.

"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."

Mosa Meat in the Netherlands has been ramping up its research and production of lab-grown meat during the last five years.

In 2013 it revealed the world's first hamburger made from lab-grown cells.

The company's co-founder, Professor Mark Post, told Sky News consumers who are wary will overcome any fears they have.

He said: "Maybe not in the beginning because it has this 'new thing', 'tech thing', unknown safety issues that are perceived that we have to deal with through regulatory offices - but eventually everybody will easily see the benefits of this and want to eat this."

Mosa Meat is working on a commercial product for launch in 2021.

Although lab-grown meat in our supermarkets may still be a few years away, there is already a growing demand for meat- free products which look, taste, smell and even have the texture of real meat.

At the Dirty Bones restaurant in London, the B12 burger, created by plant-based food firm Moving Mountains, is proving a popular addition to the menu.

Cutting it open, it does look pink, appetising, and surprisingly meaty.

Its ingredients include oyster mushrooms, pea protein, wheat, soy, beetroot and coconut oil.

The burger is being rolled out to more than 400 pubs across the UK next week.

Food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye told Sky News competition to produce meat replicas is big business.

"It really is like the space race. Everybody, all the big businesses, Silicon Valley investors are trying to find the golden mystery to creating something affordable, delicious, and it's got the fat part, that's what we want, we like the fatty part and that's the most difficult thing," she said.

Many farming bodies are understandably against this potential threat to their livelihood - and there's some way to go to convincing some food lovers we spoke to.

One woman said: "I'm a conscious consumer so I'm really careful about what I eat, where I get it from, happy meat etc. I have a lot of vegan days and don't eat meat at all so this is a big deal for me so I'm very curious."

One man said meat grown in a lab is a step too far: "I wouldn't trust anything coming from a lab, I'd feel uncomfortable with it so given the choice I'd prefer not to eat meat at all."

By Dan Whitehead, Sky News correspondent

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