What if I told you that no birds were harmed to bring you the delicious looking piece of real Southern style, deep fried chicken above?

Would you believe me? Would you eat it?

If all goes well for one American company, you’ll, at least, have the choice in just a few years.

Cultured meat producer Memphis Meats announced yesterday that it has successfully created the world’s first lineup of “clean poultry”, which included pieces of duck and chicken — and not one animal death was required.

“It’s thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals. This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement,” said Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats.

Image credit: Memphis Meats
Cultured duck served a l’orange.

Memphis Meats and a few other cultured meat producers around the world, are trying to reinvent modern animal agriculture. Valeti said the cultured meat system uses just 10 percent of the land and just one percent of the water to produce the same amount of meat.

To create its “clean” meat, Memphis Meats puts living animal cells into bioreactor tanks, then feeds them the oxygen, sugars, and minerals they need to divide and grow. According to the Wall Street Journal, early tasters swear the product tastes just like the real thing, maybe a bit spongier.

All testers said they would eat it again.

While Memphis Meats and other producers have created lab-grown or “clean” beef in the past, this is the first time any company has been able to successfully culture poultry cells.

Chicken is the most popular protein in American, where the average person eats about 90 pounds per year. Duck has a deep significance in many regions including China, where consumers collectively eat more than 6 billion pounds per year — more than the rest of the world combined.

“Chicken and duck are at the center of the table in so many cultures around the world, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health,” Valeti said. “It is also inefficient. We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable. We really believe this is a significant technological leap for humanity, and an incredible business opportunity — to transform a giant global industry while contributing to solving some of the most urgent sustainability issues of our time.”

Memphis Meats was backed by animal-welfare advocates, including PETA, which is usually against any form of animal consumption.

The meat is still prohibitively expensive — about $9,000 per pound. Memphis Meats expects to lower production costs dramatically in coming years, with hopes to launch products to consumers by 2021.

 

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.