Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
New publication

What is In Vitro Meat?

Researchers from the SVT has contributed heavily to the new issue of Food Phreaking. In Vitro Meat was one of the case studies in the EPINET project integrating different ways of assessing the good and the bad of new technologies.

front page journal
Food Phreaking

Main content

From the introduction of the issue:

So, what is in vitro meat? The basic idea is to encourage muscle cells to grow into a foodstuff and produce meat in a way totally unlike how it is done on farms.
Although not currently possible, some scientists are researching how to create a cultured meat that can be produced in factories, expanding small quantities of muscle tissue into much bigger amounts.
But the question ‘what is in vitro meat’ is so much broader than that.
What could in vitro meat be? How could it be made? How could it fit into our daily lives?

In this publication, a range of experts offer their answer to the question: What is in vitro meat? Some of them are biologists who have been working to make in vitro meat,
others are social scientists analysing how it might fit into society. We also have the executive director of the leading in vitro meat support charity (New Harvest),
and an artist working with food and science. Some of our authors are strong supporters of the technology, others are very critical, while the rest fall somewhere in between.
Some of our contributors are working on in vitro meat because of a project called EPINET: an EU-funded research project that integrates different
ways of assessing the good and the bad of new technologies.In vitro meat was used as a case study, and  EPINET hosted a meeting in Utrecht
bringing together a wide range of experts to discuss in vitro meat. Most of the essays in this publication are written by people
who attended.

Today, in vitro meat (also called cultured meat: more on that later) remains an early stage technology.Relatively small number of laboratories around the world
work on producing small quantities of food, barely enough to fill a petri dish. The task of perfecting the techniques and then upscaling the process is yet to be achieved.
The most famous example to date is the cultured burger made by Mark Post’s lab in 2013,designed as a prototype or proof of concept.
Post also kicks off this collection of essays on page 10, where he writes about the barriers to scaling up the process.
Although in vitro meat is not currently a commercial reality, we believe we need a wide ranging debate about it from the outset, and we see this book as a step towards that. Enjoy!


You can read the full issue and download the Pdf version at: Food Phreaking