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CfB Bureau

Uma S Valeti always wondered why do we eat meat the way we do. Photo: memphismeats.com

An Indian-American scientist-led team in the United States (US) has developed contamination-free meat from animal cells in a laboratory that could be harvested in 9 to 21 days, a new technique that could help in stopping large scale slaughtering of animals globally.

PTI reported Uma S Valeti saying the popularity of such meats would help stop large scale killing of animals, and expressing the desire to go in for large scale commercialisation by selling meat grown from animal cells in the next few years.

"It is sustainable as well as cruelty free," Valeti, a cardiologist and co-founder of Memphis Meats, told PTI. "I grew up in a meat eating family. From the very young age, I always thought, why do we eat the meat the way we do," he said referring to the slaughter of animals to eat meat.

Memphis Meats says on its website: “We love meat. But like most Americans, we don’t love the many negative side effects of conventional meat production: environmental degradation, a slew of health risks, and food products that contain antibiotics, fecal matter, pathogens, and other contaminants.”

That’s how Memphis Meats got started. “We’re creating a new kind of farming, one that provides the same delicious meat we grew up with—without all the drawbacks. With our home-base in the San Francisco Bay Area, but strong roots in Memphis, Tennessee, we're using the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley coupled with the rich culinary traditions of the American south to provide better meat for the entire world,” it said in a press release.

Memphis Meats concept is simple. Instead of farming animals to obtain their meat, why not farm the meat directly? The meat grown by Valeti’s team in the laboratory does not carry the health side effects like bacterial contamination, or high saturated fat or the big environmental issues that come along with it. "We are growing meat which is safer, healthier, more sustainable," Valeti said.

For developing this unique variety of meat without killing an animal, the doctor, who traces his origins to Andhra Pradesh, said they took identified cells from the targeted animal that are capable of renewing themselves. These cells are then provided with oxygen and nutrients such as sugars and minerals. The meat thus can be harvested between nine and 21 days, he said.

Valeti, who recently received venture capital funds, said that they are working on beef, pork and chicken as these are the three meats that have highest consumption and also have the highest environmental and health impact. While the first manufacturing base is to be set up in the US, Valeti said, he is also exploring the possibility to establish a manufacturing foot print in India and China, as there are already some interest from there.

Valeti, a cardiologist who trained at the Mayo Clinic, is associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota and president of the Twin Cities American Heart Association. He founded Memphis Meats with Nicholas Genovese, a stem cell biologist, and Will Clem, a biomedical engineer who owns a chain of barbeque restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee.

Source: memphismeats.com

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