JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - What if we told you there are several companies exploring ways to grow meat in a lab? They’re marketing it as a safer and more sustainable option and it could hit the shelves within the next few years.
The emerging industry hasn’t quite settled on what it would be called when it becomes available, but some of the versions are “slaughter-free", “cell-based”, or “clean” meat.
“If we can produce meat from animal cells and not animal itself, we can save resources required to produce our food,” said Nicholas Genovese, Memphis Meats CSO and Co-Founder.
So this food innovation, is it a case of no harm, no foul?
“People have been doing some weird stuff for a long time and that’s nothing new," said Rick Woods. "But I believe there’s a line that needs to be drawn in everything.”
“I had to think for a minute because it sounds yucky," noted Clyde Hampton. "It don’t sound good.”
All the folks we asked were admittedly confused. So, here’s how it works. Let’s take beef, for example. It’s made by harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Those cells are monitored in a lab setting and then multiplied to create muscle tissue.
“It can’t be the same thing," added Hampton. "It can’t be.”
Biologically, the companies say it is the same as the meat that comes from a cow, just not born or slaughtered.
“I would not feed it to my family because I believe you tamper with Mother Nature, anything could go wrong,” explained Woods. "You’re feeding it to your family, your kids could come out biologically deformed... anything.”
“I wouldn’t use it," said Monica Bass. "I don’t think it’s right to be selling that stuff.”
But it’s closer to becoming a reality with the USDA and FDA announcing just last month that they will have a joint oversight of the industry and that’s catching the attention of the agriculture community, including the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
Check back for more on what the Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner is asking to be included in the regulations.