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Cultured chicken meat – feeding the world via science

Could cultured chicken meat be the answer to world food security?

poultry chicken house

The issue of how we are going to continue to feed a worldwide growing population continues to be at the forefront of agricultural debate. Additional concerns that perpetual increases in livestock reared for consumption is having a significant effect on climate change means that we have a problem that may seem impossible to solve.

We have all seen ‘test tube meat’ grown in the laboratory in the news recently, a technique that many believe could be a sustainable answer to the growing food crisis. The Modern Agriculture Foundation, a non-profit organization created in early 2014 in Israel, seems to agree and this month sees the start of a pioneering world-wide project in the study of cultured meat – focussed in particular and exclusively on cultured chicken meat.

The project team, headed up by Professor Amit Gefen from Tel Aviv University and one of the world’s leading experts in Tissue Engineering, will conduct a feasibility study for the production of cultured chicken breast meat in an effort to discover the challenges, potential solutions and estimated costs in terms of delivering a route to commercialisation.

Modern, industrial meat production has had extensively documented negative impacts in terms of the environment, food safety & natural resources, in addition to the welfare of billions of animals annually. Cultured meat has the potential to cut back and, in some cases, eliminate that impact, by revolutionising the methods that are currently used to manufacture meat for human consumption.

Cultured meat won’t mean raising animals in packed, industrial sheds or slaughtering them, in addition to carrying a considerably reduced ecological footprint (in terms of land and water use, etc). Such a product would be immensely superior in terms of health & food safety considerations to most all broiler chicken meat consumed nowadays that is intensively farmed. Of course, one of the biggest hurdles should a cost effective and reliable process be accomplished, would be in convincing the general public to consume it.

There are many organisations in support of the project both in Israel and overseas including US based ‘A Well Fed World‘. More information at futuremeat.org

The world’s population is growing, and natural resources are diminishing. This issue is well documented and to avoid a major catastrophe, the world has to find a way to produce 56% more food by 2050. The answer lies in innovation. Visit www.innovationsinagriculture.com to find out more about how we can produce food in a more sustainable way and meet the challenge.

 

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