GMO ‘steak chips’: Replacing slaughterhouses with genetically engineered meat

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MIT Technology Review checks in with Modern Meadow CEO and cofounder Andras Forgacs.

Modern Meadow aims to create leather and meat products brewed in cell-culture vats rather than from slaughtering animals. This has the potential for greatly reducing the environmental impacts of meat and leather production.

What’s the idea behind Modern Meadow?

The company was founded to expand the ideas from biomedical tissue engineering: if we can grow skin, can we make leather? If we can grow muscle, can we make meat? We’ve now done so—and are working with chefs and leather artisans to perfect our materials. We’re a materials company, and our near-term focus is on leather. You want to make sure we have high quality and have achieved the right kind of material, and then develop a process that can scale.

But you’ve also been making batches of snacks you are calling “steak chips” made from cow muscle cells, with flavors like teriyaki and shiitake mushroom. You didn’t bring any. When will they be ready?

We’re doing private tastings but are still are refining the recipe and developing ways to scale production. We have to think about whether this is the project we take to market. We hope steak chips will be available commercially within five years, and eventually competitive with high-end snack foods like kale chips, but it depends on regulatory process and scaling the manufacturing. We’ve been told they taste a little like beef jerky, but crunchy.

Read full original article: EmTech: Three Questions with the Man Who Grows Meat

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