Cultured meat is meat produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals. It is a form of cellular agriculture.
Cultured meat is produced using many of the same tissue engineering techniques traditionally used in regenerative medicine. In 2013, Mark Post, professor at Maastricht University, was the first to showcase a proof-of-concept for in-vitro lab grown meat by creating the first lab-grown burger patty. Since then, several cultured meat prototypes have gained media attention: however, because of limited dedicated research activities, cultured meat has not yet been commercialized.
The production process still has much room for improvement, but it has advanced in most recent years, leading up to 2018, under various companies. Its applications lead it to have several prospective health, environmental, cultural, and economic considerations in comparison to conventional meat. Clean meat is an alternative term that is preferred by some journalists, advocates, and organizations that support the technology. The theoretical possibility of growing meat in an industrial setting has long captured the public imagination.
Winston Churchill suggested in 1931: “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium. In vitro cultivation of muscular fibers was performed as early as 1971 by Russell Ross. Indeed, the abstract was “Smooth muscle derived from the inner media and intima of immature guinea pig aorta were grown for up to 8 weeks in cell culture. The cells maintained the morphology of smooth muscle at all phases of their growth in culture.
In 2001, dermatologist Wiete Westerhof from the University of Amsterdam, medical doctor Willem van Eelen, and businessman Willem van Kooten announced that they had filed for a worldwide patent on a process to produce cultured meat. In 2003, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr of the Tissue Culture and Art Project and Harvard Medical School exhibited in Nantes a “steak” a few centimetres wide, grown from frog stem cells, which was cooked and eaten. The first peer-reviewed journal article published on the subject of laboratory-grown meat appeared in a 2005 issue of Tissue Engineering.