A new study from the University of California, Davis, has found that lab-grown, or “cultivated” meat’s environmental impact is likely to be “orders of magnitude” higher than retail beef based on current and near-term production methods.
The preprint study, which has yet to undergo peer review, concludes that the energy needed and greenhouse gasses emitted during all stages of production of lab-grown meat is far greater than traditionally raised beef.
Researchers conducted a life-cycle assessment of the energy needed and greenhouse gases emitted in all stages of production and compared that with beef. One of the current challenges with lab-grown meat is the use of highly refined or purified growth media, the ingredients needed to help animal cells multiply. Currently, this method is similar to the biotechnology used to make pharmaceuticals. This sets up a critical question for cultured meat production: Is it a pharmaceutical product or a food product? –UC Davis
“If companies are having to purify growth media to pharmaceutical levels, it uses more resources, which then increases global warming potential,” according to lead author and doctoral graduate Derrick Risner, of the US Davis Department of Food Science and Technology. “If this product continues to be produced using the “pharma” approach, it’s going to be worse for the environment and more expensive than conventional beef production.”
Read moreCarbon Footprint Of Lab-Grown Beef “Orders Of Magnitude” Worse Than Traditionally Raised: Study