Israel-based startup Aleph Farms has just unveiled the world's first lab-grown steak. This milestone on the road to bringing a cruelty-free meat product to the market demonstrates, for the first time, the technology's ability to imitate the flavor, shape, texture and structure of a classic beef steak.
Back in 2013, the first lab-grown burger was revealed to the general public. At the time the burger cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it was seen as a priceless proof of concept for producing beef without the environmental or ethical costs generally associated with meat production. However, it's one thing to create a beef mince-like protein in laboratory conditions, but growing something that resembles a conventional steak is another challenge altogether.
"Making a patty or a sausage from cells cultured outside the animal is challenging enough, imagine how difficult it is to create a whole-muscle steak," explains Aleph Farms CEO, Didier Toubia.
Lab-grown meat (aka cell-grown meat, or clean meat) generally involves extracting muscle tissue samples from a live animal and then stimulating those cells to replicate in laboratory conditions. A large assortment of start-ups are racing to be the first to commercialize this technology and estimates on when it will finally reach market shelves vary from three to 10 years depending on how quickly cost-effective large-scale production can be developed.
Aleph's demonstration of the first lab-grown steak is an exciting advance in cell-cultured meat technology. The company claims the steak takes about three weeks to grow from an initial cellular sample into the steak we see cooked by Israeli chef Amir Ilan in the video below.
"Aleph Farms' minute steak is thinly sliced and will cook in just a minute or so," says Ilan, discussing his experience using the meat. "For me, it is a great experience to eat meat that has the look and feel of beef but has been grown without antibiotics and causes no harm to animals or the environment."
Lab-grown meat hitting the market is clearly a case of when and not if, as the technology continues to race forward in both sophistication and efficiency. Traditional meat-producers went on the offensive earlier in 2018, beginning political plays to stop these new products using the term "meat." After some early initial wins it seems like the nascent lab-grown meat industry will face more than just technological hurdles in getting its product to the market over the coming years.
Source: Aleph Farms
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