Tech Company Creates World's First Clean Meat Steak

The lab-grown product turns cow cells into beef cuts 'replicating the complex shape, texture, and flavor of a steak'
World's first lab-grown steak
The world's first lab-grown steak (Photo: Aleph Farms)

An Israeli tech firm has created the first lab-grown minute steak - made without slaughtering any animals.

Lab cultured meat - best known as clean meat - is not vegan, as it currently uses cells from animals. Some scientists also use a bovine growth serum - though there are companies working on making the tech animal-free. Some vegans support clean meat because of its potential to dramatically reduce the number of animals slaughtered.

Now Aleph Farms - which does not use an animal-based growth serum - is the first to use this tech to grow steak, nourishing cells and bioreactors in tanks to grow the tissue. It says the steak could be available commercially within two years.

Changing the meat industry

"We're shaping the future of the meat industry - literally," Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

"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.

"At Aleph Farms, this is not science fiction. We've transformed the vision into reality by growing a steak under controlled conditions. The initial products are still relatively thin, but the technology we developed marks a true breakthrough and a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak."

The company's breakthrough steak

'Great experience'

"Aleph Farms' minute steak is thinly sliced and will cook in just a minute or so," added Amir Ilan, Chef of the restaurant Paris Texas in Ramat Gan, Israel.

"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.

"Aleph Farms meat has high culinary potential – it can be readily incorporated into top-shelf preparations or served in premium-casual restaurants, trendy cafes, bistros, or other eateries."

'Clean meat agenda'

Not everyone is happy about the progress of the clean meat lobby. Kay Johnson Smith, President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, talked about why she has a problem with the product earlier this year.

"The Animal Agriculture Alliance supports consumer choice. We're all about providing products that consumers want consumers want and that they are interested in," she said. [But the term 'clean meat' was] coined by activists who are animal rights activists. They are trying to find alternatives to stop people from eating meat, milk, and eggs.

"So this cultured meat, or lab-grown meat is an alternative that they are really pushing and marketing. They know the consumers are kind of 'icked out' by cultured meat or meat grown in a lab, so they've come up with this term 'clean meat' as a way to market it.

"The biggest concern is it implies real meat is somehow dirty, or not clean, so it's very frustrating and from an industry standpoint we need to push back on that, not use that term ourself, and when we're asked about it, always challenge the fact that it's called clean meat."

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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