World's largest facility to grow 'cultivated meat' to be built in the US
Work is afoot to build the world's largest facility to produce cultivated meat in the U.S., even as the Food and Drug Administration is yet to give its approval for public consumption of the meat in the country, The Guardian reported.
At 7.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, livestock contributes 14.5 percent of global carbon emissions. Cattle grown for meat and milk accounts for as much as 65 percent of livestock emissions, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations states on its website. In contrast, cultivated meat has the potential to deliver this food source at a fraction of the resources used by livestock farming while also drastically reducing emissions. As many as 170 companies are involved in producing this alternative meat that can put an end to slaughtering animals for food.
How does one cultivate meat?
The process of meat cultivation involves using a bioreactor where cells sourced from cell banks or eggs of the livestock animals can be grown. A bioreactor is a large vessel that provides the cells with all the necessary nutrients and conditions for optimal growth. Once the cells reach a certain stage, they can be harvested.
The principle has been successfully deployed in the biopharmaceutical industry to produce life-saving drugs and even vaccines that protect from infections from diseases.
Companies engaged in cultivating meat have been working diligently to ensure that the final product looks like animal meat and tastes like one. The other major challenge in making cultivated meat more alluring to the public at large is a reduction in costs. This is where large-scale production comes in.
World's largest Bioreactors
U.S.-based Good Meat plans to set up the world's largest facility for cultivated meat production to make its products pocket-friendly. To do so, it has roped in ABEC Inc., another U.S.-based company with extensive experience in building bioreactors for the biopharma industry.
Since the 1990s, ABEC has regularly built bioreactors with capacities of over 10,000-liters. However, for Good Meat, the manufacturer is building 250,000-liter capacity bioreactors that are approximately four stories tall. Good Meat plans to install 10 such reactors at a single facility in the U.S., the site selection of which is currently underway.
The company claims that the process will be completed within three months, after which the bioreactor installation can begin. The facility will be operational starting in 2024 and will produce 11,800 tonnes of meat a year by 2026. By the end of the decade, this number is expected to reach 13,700 tonnes, The Guardian reported.
Good Meat currently does not have the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell this meat in U.S. markets but is working closely with the regulator to get it done. Meanwhile, the FDA in Singapore has approved Good Meat's products to be sold in the country. ABEC is setting up a 6,000-liter bioreactor in Singapore to cultivate meat production.
Currently, Good Meat is the only company to have FDA approval to sell its cultivated meat commercially in the world.
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