The Problem With Lab-Grown Meat

At the 2019 Milken Global Conference, which brings together business and public policy leaders to explore how market-based solutions could help social problems, a cohort of speakers suggested revamping our food system could be key to intervening in climate change. They argued that food innovations such as lab-grown meat were critical to creating a better and more just food future. Their sentiments echo political scientist Jan Dutkiewicz’s claim that lab-grown meat is the solution that would make the Green New Deal possible.

Advocates for lab-grown meat say that beyond helping fight climate change, it will also improve animal welfare and shake up our food production system. But there is a problem with cellular agriculture—another name for lab-grown meat—that the cheerleaders don’t seem to be talking about. In key ways, lab-grown meat is built on the same foundational logics of our current industrial food system. As a result, it’s firmly on the road to replicating many of the challenges that it claims it will address, and in the process risks making a food future that is worse, rather than better, for eaters.

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