Lab-reared chicken and duck meat could be in shops within four years
The world's first test-tube chicken meat has been unveiled by scientists, who hope to start supplying supermarkets within four years.
Memphis Meats founders Dr Uma Valeti and Dr Nicholas Genovese allowed food experts to sample their southern fried chicken recipe at an event in San Francisco, California, US. Although other companies have created beef, it is the first time scientists have grown poultry meat from stem cells. They also created duck meat.
It marks a huge step forward for the "clean meat" movement, which aims to end the cruelty and environmental impact of battery farming while creating a food that even vegetarians can eat.
"It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn't require raising animals. This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement," said Dr Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats.
"Chicken and duck are at the centre of the table in so many cultures, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare and human health. It is also inefficient.
"We aim to produce meat that is delicious, affordable and sustainable. We believe this is a significant technological leap for humanity, and an incredible business opportunity to transform a global industry while contributing to solving some of the most urgent sustainability issues of our time."
The scientists believe that cultured meat will eventually replace raising animals and that future generations will deem eating animals unthinkable.
To grow meat in a lab, the scientists isolate chicken and duck stem cells that have the ability to regenerate, before culturing them in a nutrient soup of sugars and minerals. These cells develop into skeletal muscle that can be harvested in just a few weeks.
Emily Byrd, of the Good Food Institute, was one of the first to taste the duck meat. She described it as "rich, juicy and savoury" and was equally impressed by the chicken.
- The Telegraph, London