A San Francisco Startup Is Serving Chicken That Was Made in a Lab

Mar 15, 2017

A food technology startup in San Francisco has grown a chicken strip from self-reproducing cells in a lab, making it the first to produce this type of lab-grown meat.

Memphis Meats, located in the Bay Area, is planning to reveal its creation on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. But ahead of the release, the company invited a few lucky people to taste-test the chicken. Duck meat was also created in the lab, and was used in the taste-test as well.

According to the Journal, those who tried the chicken strip said they would eat it again, and said that both options tasted like the real thing.

The idea behind this "clean meat" is to revolutionize the $200 billion meat industry, the Journal reports. Scientists, startups, and animal-welfare activists are all behind the idea, as the products could potentially replace the billions of cattle, hogs and chickens that are normally used. It is also a way to avoid the cost of grain, water, and waste disposal that comes with caring for livestock.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in particular likes the idea for clean meat, and has funded early research for it. According to Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, the group is "very much in favor of anything that reduces or eliminates the slaughterhouse,” she told the Journal.

Mosa Meats in the Netherlands is another food technology startup that is experimenting with lab-grown meats. According to the Journal, scientists there have already produced beef that was grown from bovine cells.

It still had a long way to go before making it to your kitchen table — Memphis Meats wants to sell its meat commercially by 2021, the Journal reports.

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