The Guardian reports that a PhD in genetics might seem like an unusual requirement for the role of head chef. It makes more sense when the man running the kitchen is not just in charge of frying your chicken burger – he created the meat himself.
“This burger takes something between two to three days to grow,” says Tomer Halevy as he chops red onions, iceberg lettuce and avocado. He proceeds to batter what appears to be a strip of raw chicken before dipping it in breadcrumbs.
Halevy uses the word “grow” because chickens do not need to be slaughtered en masse to produce this type of meat. Cells taken from “source” chickens are cultured in a laboratory, creating potentially endless supplies of muscle and fat tissue. Some cells were removed from eggs, meaning the meat is from birds that were never even born.
Advocates for the technology argue that if cultured meat can become affordable it will be revolutionary, and not just in its potential to end, or at least significantly cut back, the meat trade. Cultured meat requires no antibiotics or drugs.
Critically, one study suggested it could potentially be produced with 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions and 99% less land – although some animal rights activists argue it perpetuates an unhealthy obsession with eating animals.