As excitement builds toward cultured meat (CM) reaching more markets, at lower costs, and with more accurate flavors and textures, we have to take a deep breath and remember that commercial success is simply not enough.
The benefits popularly ascribed to CM are not inherent to the technology. We could have great tasting, cheap, and readily available CM products that continue to rely on animal slaughter and generate much the same outcomes for personal and environmental health as traditional meat (TM). In short, a race-to-market mindset could drive developers to cut corners in ways that slow progress or lead us back to where we started.
Keeping CM development on point, and avoiding detrimental short-cuts, means accepting core mission objectives as crucial, and maintaining a race-to-mission mindset.
Towards this goal, New Harvest has co-authored a piece just published by Nature Food, describing what a race to mission entails. This includes five parameters that represent base mission objectives as well as minimal states of technological readiness for CM developers: slaughter-free solutions, health & safety, proactive sustainability, scale for impact (not just cost), and open science.
It is a call to action, explaining how these parameters can be pursued in a way that speeds progress and sets the highest standards for the field. And in the spirit of open, Nature Food is making the article available free to the public for the first month!
If this sounds exciting, give it a read!
As a bonus, Nature Food will hold a webinar on October 25th in support of the special issue, including two authors from our article (Dwayne Holmes & David Humbird), as well as Garrett Broad, and Marianne Ellis. Register here!
*Special thanks to my co-authors: David Humbird, Jan Dutkiewicz, Yadira Tejeda-Saldana, Breanna Duffy, and Isha Datar!