Lab-grown meat could be in restaurants by 2021

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A DUTCH company that presented the world’s first lab-grown beef burger five years ago said Tuesday, that it has received funding to pursue its plans to make and sell artificially grown meat to restaurants from 2021.

Mosa Meat said it raised 7.5 million euros ($8.8 million), mainly from M Ventures and Bell Food Group. M Ventures is an investment vehicle for German pharmaceuticals company, Merck KGaA. Bell Food is a European meat processing company based in Switzerland.

The aim is to achieve industrial-scale production two to three years later, with a typical hamburger patty costing about $1.
Maastricht-based Mosa Meat, which has in the past received more than $1million from Google co-founder Sergey Brin, said it hoped to sell its first products – most likely ground beef for burgers – in the next three years.

Environmentalists have warned that the world’s growing appetite for meat, particularly in emerging economies such as China, isn’t sustainable because beef, pork and poultry require far greater resources than plant-based proteins. Cows in particular also produce large amounts of greenhouse gas that contribute to global warming.

The big challenge is making meat that looks, feels and tastes like the real thing. Mosa Meat uses a small sample of cells taken from a live animal. Those cells are fed with nutrients so that they grow into strands of muscle tissue. The company claims it could make up to 80,000 quarter pounders from a single sample.

Some advocates have claimed the term “clean meat” while opponents in the traditional farm sector suggest “synthetic meat” is more appropriate.

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