The Vegetarian Meat & # 39; Aimed at replacing the real thing


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Flesh-free foods that "bleed" like the real thing are becoming increasingly common. Can the vegetarian alternatives replace "traditional" burgers and sausages?

Concerts about the environmental and health impact of our diets have seen interest in vegetarian and vegan foods grow.

This has boosted everything from flexitism to vegan sausage rolls and campaigns as a "vegan".

While Linda and McCartney once ruled the meat substitute from our supermarkets, new companies came out with a radically different "meat-free" vision.

Vegetarian "Meat" designed to mimic the look, smell and taste of the real thing are already available, while scientists are developing lab-grown meats

But with the arrival of the new dishes comes an increasingly animated debate about what can be called "meat", as well as – and even if – it should be sold.

The first type of new meat alternatives are plant-based products.

They are already available in restaurants, pubs and supermarkets, contributing to a growing market worth £ 4.6bn. Last week, the value of US dollars. There. Fast bond meat rose to nearly $ 3.8bn (£ 2.9bn) after its Wall Street debut.

The purpose of plant-based "meat" is to be as similar to cooking and eating as the real thing, that it is virtually indistinguishable.

It is made from plant proteins – usually wheat, pea or potato. Natural colorings like beetroot juice usually provide "blood".

Another US Fast, Impossible Foods, has developed a factory version of the home – which gives beef its color and taste.

The second type of meat alternative is known as cultured or pure meat, which is produced using animal stem cells.

These cells are grown in a lab or bioactor, usually with the help of a growth-enhancing substance taken from a calf's fetus.

The process is much closer to a scientist growing replacement tissues and organs than a cattle farmer's.

Although not yet available in shops and restaurants, these techniques are experienced in a number of countries and may be on our plates in a matter of years.

A company called just hopes to have its lab-grown chicken on US. There. Shelves by the end of 2019.

The meat analogues are not aimed at vegetarians and vegans.

There are high hopes that the factory-based lab-grown meat will appeal to hardened meat eaters.

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Impossible Foods

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US $ There. Company Impossible Foods has developed a factory version of Hem – which gives beef its color and taste

But getting the products on to our plates is not as straightforward as just putting them in shops and restaurants.

Arguably, the biggest hurdle is getting permission to sell them.

Cultured meat firms must perform a strict safety assessment.

In the EU, this process can take up to two years. If the European Food Safety Authority decides the product is safe to eat, a decision must be made whether you can go to the market – and how it should be labeled.

In the US The timeframe is less secure and relies on approval from two separate departments: Food and Drug Administration, which regulates animal cell collection and culture, and the US. There. Department of Agriculture, which decides how marketed meat can be marketed.

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Media captionThe chicken nuggets are grown in a lab of cells taken from a living animal

Even with the approval of regulators, it is still necessary to win over the public.

For many consumers, the so-called "YAC" factor of lab-grown meat can be too strong for it to be an alternative to real meat – or something they even want to eat.

For others, the most important thing can be clear and transparent information about what they are eating and from where it came.

In the US There is a need for a more precise definition of "meat" before the new technology hits the shelves.

The term should only be used to describe "the tissue or meat of animals which have been tried in the traditional manner", the US. There. Cather's Association argues.

For meat alternative producers, the outcome of these debits may make or break their businesses.

It is thought that consumers are more likely to buy meat described as "clean" or "slaughter-free" than "lab-grown".

More than that

Naming is also important to the plant-based "meat", with opposition to the use of words like "burger", "steak" or "sausage" to describe them growing.

The EU Consider proposition to limit the terms solely to describing eating animal products. It led to reports that this might mean Veggie burgers and sausages, which should take more descriptive names such as "discs" and "tubes".

France has already chosen to ban the "misleading" labeling of vegetarian products, suggesting that labels including "Veggie burger" and "vegan bacon" are confusing people.

Producers and investors in plant-based and educated flesh hope it will rival the taste, cost and convenience of conventional meat.

Some think it can take the place of our most environmentally-damaging meets and help meet climate targets.

Conventional meat production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental protection. A diet shift is described by scientists as critical to tackling climate change.

Plant-based "meat" produces significantly fewer Harbor gas emissions and requires far less soil and water.

But lab-growing meat still requires a lot of energy. A report by the Oxford Martin School suggested that in some circumstances – over the very long term, and not taking into account emissions of land-use, changes associated with livestock production – lab meat could result in more warming than cattle flesh.

Lab-grown meat is still only produced in small quantities, meaning it is difficult to assess what large-scale production looks like.

Another issue is that a switch to meat alternatives would affect Fudestock farmers, some of whom argue that much of the land that animals are farmed is not fruitful enough for crop production.

For consumers, there are important questions.

Are they willing to retain the role of animal farming in diets and in our culture?

And if "flesh" comes from plants or animal cells, is it still meat?

About this piece

This analyst piece is commissioned by the BBC from an expert working for an outside organization.

Laura Wellesley is a research fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resources Department of Chatham House. She reported his report on meat analogues: Considerations for the EU, which was partly funded by Human Society International and Compassion in World Farming. You can follow you on Twitter.

Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, describes itself as an independent policy institution helping to build a most secure, prosperous, and just world. Chatham House Princess states that it "always maintain independent control over its reports and outputs, irrespective of the source of funding, ensuring objectivity in its work under its name".

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