La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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"Cellular Meat": Is it possible? Is it good? Is this acceptable?

Although there is a consensus about the challenges in agriculture, food and environment, the innovations developed to respond to them are varied. Among these, “cultured meat” is a subject that raises many questions to which this conference attempted to answer in part by combining the opinions of two start-ups in the sector and of French experts in agriculture, animal husbandry and human nutrition. While culture of muscle cells is a well-known technique, many technical and economic obstacles remain to be solved in order to move to large-scale production. Although the cost has been reduced and will continue to decrease, it is still high to be competitive. In addition, scientists from academic research are asking for precise information to share, in particular about the composition of culture media and of products, as well as production efficiency. Several opinions were expressed to stress that these products could not be called “meat” from a biological, semantic and legal point of view, as well as under Community regulations, they are considered as "novel foods". Regarding the environmental impact or the composition of the products, it is difficult to give precise answers because only a few academic research studies are available or conclusive. The debates focused on the available knowledge, reassuring hypotheses or concerns expressed by experts, in particular by comparison with other solutions suggested to feed humanity (such as reducing food waste or changing our agricultural practices and our eating habits). In this context, the issue of animal welfare is also central as well as the level of potential acceptance of "cultured meat" by consumers, which is still difficult to estimate.

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