Viewpoint: FDA took 24 years to approve fast-growing GM salmon. Let’s hope lab-made meat, dairy hit the market sooner

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Credit: Ilia Yechimovich/Getty Images
Credit: Ilia Yechimovich/Getty Images

[Numerous] startups are pursuing the production of cultured meats including Israel-based Future Meat Technologies and Dutch companies Meatable and Mosa Meat, and U.S.-based Memphis Meats.

These cultured meat companies face stiff competition from the burgeoning plant-based meat companies, including the delicious Impossible Burger from Impossible Foods.

While Singapore’s regulators have been quick to approve a cultured meat product, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture are still in the process of figuring out how they want to regulate lab-grown meats. Let’s hope that the FDA will move more swiftly toward approving safe cultured meats than the 24 years it took to approve the sale of salmon genetically enhanced to grow faster.

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A switch to cultured meats and milk could have big benefits for the natural world. Currently, about half of the world’s habitable land is devoted to agriculture and 77 percent of that is used to raise livestock and produce milk. Although controversial, one preliminary estimate suggests that producing cultured meats cuts energy use by 7–45 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by 78–96 percent, land use by 99 percent, and water use by 82–96 percent. The end of farming could be in sight as real factories replace factory farming.

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