Lab-grown burgers are coming, but heated political battle will determine future of cell-cultured meat

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Credit: VICTOR DE SCHWANBERG/SCIENCE SOURCE

Companies in the United States and abroad are moving quickly to bring to market hamburgers and other meat, poultry and seafood products derived from muscle tissue grown in a lab with cells harvested from a living animal.

U.S. regulators will introduce rules for such products later this year, and companies say they are poised to launch their first commercial products within the same time frame.

Like the introduction of genetically modified foods before it, cell-cultured meat has the potential to transform how the world eats. And as with genetically modified foods, there probably will be pushback.

Plant-based meat, while growing in popularity, still largely appeals to the tiny fraction of Americans who are vegetarians and vegans. If lab meats can replicate the taste and texture of traditional meat — at a lower cost and with fewer downsides — it would be a game-changer for global nutrition.

Related article:  Students in Ghana rally support for GMO crops

This prospect is launching a three-way battle over the future of meat, with factions jockeying to shape government regulation, consumer tastes and the debate over the social and environment implications of widespread adoption of alternative meats.

Read full, original article: From lab to table: Will cell-cultured meat win over Americans?

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