Lab 'meat steaks' now a reality thanks to Israeli startup Aleph Farms

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Red meat has been one of the most investigated in food production laboratories, since its consumption can pose a great risk to planet Earth, due to greenhouse gas emissions by the food industry itself, which means 25% of total emissions globally, according to a study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Moreover, this problem is aggravated in Spain, the leader in meat consumption in the entire European Union (EU), with an average of over 100 kilograms of meat per person per year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

However, according to the latest report on food consumption by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, this average drops to 46.19 kilograms per person, since the Ministry does not take into account meat consumption outside the home.

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Thus, the creation of laboratory meat could be a breakthrough to curb greenhouse gas emissions or provide an answer to new nutrition models.

This has been the task of Israeli startup Aleph Farms, which has created the first laboratory steak, using 3D bioprinters as well as cells from real cows. Here, then, is where the big question arises: does artificial meat have any advantage over meat of animal origin?

Some questions to bear in mind about red meat

The scientists in charge of this finding called this type of meat the“world’s first steak obtained without slaughter,” as reported by Bloomberg. As a result of the added difficulty of obtaining this steak -which has the tendons and fat typical of animal meat-, its current price is around 50 euros.

In any case, the startup is still in an investment round, so the final or commercial result will not be seen for at least 3 or 4 years.

However, this finding already represents a revolutionary milestone in the field of bioprinting and even in the field of space food -in2019, Aleph Farms grew bovine cells on the International Space Station-.

But the question that really has to be faced is whether this meat has any benefits over animal red meat and whether its production is more environmentally viable than traditional livestock farming.

According to some studies and nutritionists, the consumption of red meat can have negative consequences on health and consequently increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.

In spite of it, many recommend moderate consumption, since it is a great source of proteins, B12, and iron. The Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) warned against eating red meat more than twice a week.

On the other hand, it should be taken into account that meat created in laboratories is considered an ultra-processed food, which can imply that, although it fulfills the nutritional properties of red meat, it may not be as healthy for human beings.

In addition, the different livestock farms help to maintain natural habitats in a perfect and sustainable circle, since they facilitate the fertilization of soils and prevent the advance of bushes that cause danger of fire.

That is to say, the most advisable thing would be to reduce the consumption of meat, as many organizations have been warning, and to carry out daily physical activity, apart from the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. If this is complied with, no one will be bitter about a steak of laboratory meat.

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