Would you eat meat that is created in a laboratory? Bruce Gulland and Liz Waid explain how in vitro meat is made and the positive and negative aspects of the process!

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Imagine the inside of a laboratory. Men and women in white lab coats bend over long tables. One woman is working over a small plastic dish. She takes a small container of liquid and empties it into the dish. Then, she squeezes several drops of a different liquid from a long tube. She seals the dish, and places it in a container with several more dishes.

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Voice 2

Six weeks pass. The dishes sit in their container. But inside the dishes, something is happening. Slowly, a red substance starts to grow. By the end of the six weeks, it fills the dish. It looks like a hamburger! But does it taste like one? The woman returns to the laboratory and chooses one dish. She brings it into a kitchen and places the substance on a hot pan. Once it is brown, she puts it between two pieces of bread. Then, she takes a big bite!

Voice 1

This may seem like something from a futuristic film. But the woman has just taken her first bite of lab-grown, or in vitro, meat. Many people think this new technology can help solve many problems in the world of meat production. But will people really eat it? Today’s Spotlight is on in vitro meat.

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Many people around the world love meat. People eat pigs, chicken, cows, goats, and many other animals. Meat is an important part of the world’s diet. For some, meals with meat are important to who they are. Many regional foods depend on meat for their uniqueness.

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But there is also a big problem with meat. Raising animals takes up a lot of space, food, and water. And the global population is increasing. As more people come to live on the earth, they will demand more meat. But the earth may not have enough space to keep these animals. 

Voice 2

Raising livestock animals also has a serious effect on climate change. Some animals, like cows, goats, and sheep, have special stomachs. These stomachs allow them to eat foods that are very hard to digest, like grasses and leaves. But digesting these foods produces a lot of methane gas. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. It traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide. And the global meat industry is responsible for 30 percent of the world’s methane production! If the world continues to produce meat like this, it could be very bad for the environment.

Voice 1

For some people, growing meat in laboratories may be the solution to this problem. Meat grown with this method is usually called cultured meat, lab-grown meat, or in vitro meat. To make in vitro meat, all a scientist needs is a few cells from an animal’s muscle. They put these cells in a special environment. Then, they add nutrients, and chemicals called hormones. These chemicals cause the cells to grow. The process does require some things from animals. But a few cells from a cow could grow thousands of pounds of beef. It is much more efficient than raising livestock and it does not produce methane. Liz Specht is the director of science and technology at the Good Food Institute. She spoke to the website GEN.

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“Cultured meat could address all the problems related to industrial meat production. It addresses environmental impacts and concerns about treating animals well. It stops the risks of getting diseases from animals. It can do all this while making sure there is a production system to meet the growth in demand for animal protein.”

Voice 2

For people like Specht, in vitro meat could solve many of our problems. But the technology for in vitro meat is still very new. And it is still very expensive. Mark Post is a Dutch scientist. He was the first person to make a lab-grown hamburger in 2013. It was made from cow cells. The hamburger was very expensive to make. It cost 325,000 dollars! And it took three months to grow. Today, the process is much faster. Good Meats is a company that has started growing in vitro chicken. Their chicken takes only two weeks to produce. But a meal of this chicken will cost about 17 dollars.

Voice 1

The process also may not be as environmentally friendly as people thought. Growing in vitro meat uses a lot of energy. Some of this energy will come from burning fossil fuels. This releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. And it lasts in the atmosphere longer than methane. So, many people say it is worse for the planet in the long-term.

Voice 2

Growing in vitro meat may also cause a lot of waste. This is because cell cultures must be sterile. They must be free of any bacteria. Otherwise, other things will grow, and ruin the meat. These sterile containers also create a lot of plastic waste. And there is already a problem of too much plastic waste in the environment. 

Voice 1

But the biggest question about in vitro meat might be: will people eat it? Many people do not trust food grown in a lab. In vitro meat may seem unnatural. Or people might fear that it will somehow affect their bodies in a bad way. And in vitro meat also does not taste like meat from animals. It does not have fat, only muscle. Fat must be added later, and the taste is still not quite the same.

Voice 2

Still, in vitro meat is coming. Today, it is available in very few places. But dozens of companies are working on their meat growing methods. Companies have invested billions of dollars in this research. And many people believe that it is the protein of the future. Josh Tetrick is the CEO of Eat Just, which grows in vitro chicken. He told the website CNET.

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“I want tens of thousands of restaurants to have cultured meat on their menu. Then, at some point, I want them to ask their chefs, ‘why do we have conventional chicken on the menu, too?’”

Voice 1

Would you eat in vitro meat? Why, or why not? You can leave a comment on our website at www.spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Dan Christmann. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. This program is called: The Future of Meat.

Voice 1

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Would you eat in vitro meat? Why, or why not? 

Join the discussion

24 comments
  • The advantages of in vitro meat, which already outweigh the disadvantages, will increase again in the future, we will have better quality with a decrease in production costs, as has been the case with all the scientific innovations that have changed our lives. The first to applaud will be the animal friends. Getting used to eating insects or synthetic meat won’t be easy for us, but I think it will be completely normal for future generations, just like wearing clothes with synthetic fabrics for us. I think we will be judged very harshly by future generations for how we raise and kill animals for food.

  • I think in vitro meat will become a option to eat in restaurants and supermarkets. I am very happy with the topics that you choose to understand a new lenguaje. Thank you very much.

  • Artificial meat might help population there is enough meat to eat everyday.
    You do not afraid of it because it is in-created absolutely like natural meat.

    We have ever heard that information in newspaper for a long time. Some of scientists have sanctioned it is not harm, it is able to changed natural meat.

    In medicine field, as you know, nowadays we have had many the stem-cell centers, they get fat tissue to create the new cells to repair some organists are fail or damaged, for example: Diabetic, degenerative joint, nervous system injury.

    We have right to hope in future we can treat most diseases by stem – cell.

    Dr Dinh Vuong
    Vietnam

  • Vitro meat I think not spring at all the country because not tastes and no fat … The fat important for meat to give it guicy smile and taste

  • personal perspective i might try to eat it, but i will not take as primary source of meat to eat it always. it is an artificial meat and has lot of chemicals and for sure its not fresh and doesn’t have the same valued nutritions nether the benefits if the source is not the animals its self.

  • No cause I think this type of meat not healthy and causes many diseases for me and this type added a industrial material.

  • Thanks Spotlight for your post. It is really interesting. I hope Vitro meat will be solution for enviroment.

  • We eat the meet and we fulenjoy in test it and i think about why we‘ll maybe after more years the meat lead for us some problems in us health if we eating it so much? If not don’t lead for us anything maybe harm us

  • I wouldn’t to eat in vitro meat, because it is industrial meat not natural as it has to find in the environment. In addition in vitro meat has high cost compared with conventional meat .

  • I think that vitro meat is a good idea to reduce food problem all over the world.But it needs some researches to be cheaper than other natural. In my opinion, I don’t prefer it because it grows at Labs.

  • Yes, I could try in vitro meat if it is safe and healthy. However, I would not eat it for a long term.

  • I do not eat animal meat. I do not want animals to be killed for meat. It may sound strange but I think that cows, pigs have feelings and thoughts the same as we humans. Cows and pigs are mammals just like us. We have similar brains. It is horrific that we kill animals and eat them. It is good news that we can produce artificial meat in the lab without killing animals.

  • No , I never eat vitro meat I prefer the natural meat from the animals not from laboratory because I think it is test doesn’t like the natural.

  • I’m excited to try in vitro meat one day. If we could find solutions to the problems related to this industry, it would be a good alternative to livestock.

  • The solution isn’t in vitro meat, but change our habits. We should change our diet, eating less meat and more vegetables. The meat production will not be enough and moreover is polluting for the planet. For exemple eating less junk food as hamburger of fast food.

  • I think that vitro meat my be have some affect on people for the future because it is not ntural that produce from animals. Sometimes I don’t want to eat meat because when I see a dish with meat as chicken, I become see the facts in my mind that the animals was kill and eat by people. Nowadays, people become eat a lot of whatever meat they can eat including water animals of they have’t aten yet. If vitro meats become spread on the world, the problems will decline and also diseases to people.
    Thank you …..

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