US approved laboratory grown meat

Context: USA has given approval to cultivate laboratory grown meat (chicken meat). The official name given to this meat is ‘cell-cultivated chicken’. It will be cultivated for the human consumption.

US approved laboratory grown meat

What is cell-cultivated chicken?

  • Cultivated meat refers to the in vitro production of meat from animal cells.
  • Under this the producer isolate the cells that make up the meat (the meat that we consume), and put them in a setting where they have all the resources they need to grow and make more copies of themselves. 
  • These resources are typically nutrients, fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, the right temperature, etc. 
  • The ‘setting’ in which this process transpires is often a bioreactor (also known as a ‘cultivator’), a sensor-fit device — like a container — that has been designed to support a particular biological environment. 
  • In practice, cells are seeded into a biocompatible tissue scaffold to provide structural support, and the necessary nutrients and small molecules are provided to the seeded cells to direct their growth and function.
  • Once there are enough of these cells, which takes around two to three weeks in the process, they resemble a mass of minced meat. They are collected and processed with additives to improve texture.


  • The FAO has estimated that global livestock is responsible for 14.5% (40% from Beef, 8% from Chicken) of all anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions. 
  • Similarly, the 2021 report estimated that lab-cultivated meat would use 63% less land in the case of chicken. 
  • Cultivated meat would consume 80% less water than conventional meat. 
  • Alternative meat’s proponents have advanced it as a way to meet the world’s nutritional security needs.
  • Ethical concerns: Prevention from cruelty on animals.
  • Susceptibility towards animal borne diseases would be least (e.g., Bird Flu) and anti-biotic overuse would be checked.

Which forms of cell-cultivated meat exist?

  • Currently only Chicken’s meat will be cultivated.
  • Beef having high levels of fat is hard to cultivate with the current technology. 
  • Researchers are also developing cell-cultivated versions of sea bass, tuna, and shrimp. 

What are the challenges?

1. Consumer acceptance: producer have to meet with the demand of original taste, texture and appearance. Current development is not meeting all the demands simultaneously. 

2. High cost of cultivation: 2020 FAO analysis shows that its cost of production will never be less in the near future. 

3. Resource availability: producer require high quality of cells every time they produce meat. 

4. Funding crunch: private players specially in developing nations like India are reluctant to provide funds for R&D in cell-cultivated meat. 


Despite various challenges, research and development should continue to produce best quality of such meat. Various research agencies even in India can explore this segment of biotech. However, it would be too soon to conclude the mass production of such meat for human consumption.

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