Lab successfully makes 3D printed steak

Cruelty-free: Even though it is real beef, this steak was grown in a lab. © Aleph Farms

Will 3D-printed food solve world hunger? A lab in Israel has grown a beef steak from scratch using cells taken from a cow. Some say the new technology could save lives in the future.

What’s happening

The steak is still sizzling when it appears from the kitchen. Juicy and perfectly cooked, it is a delicious meat feast.

But this steak is not like others. While it is 100% beef meat, it did not come from a cow. Instead, it was grown in a lab and printed out on a 3D printer.

Find out more

For years, a group of scientists in Jerusalem have been working to make meat from scratch. Now, they have had a breakthrough. By using cells taken from a live cow, they have grown beef artificially in their lab.

The lab calls it the “world’s first slaughter-free steak”. It says they could be in restaurants by next year.

Supporters think this technology could be the future of food. Vegan meat companies are already planning to make their own 3D printed burgers and sausages.

Others hope that the breakthrough could make food easy to access all over the world. Plus, it would mean we no longer have to farm cattle or cut down trees to make space for farmland.

One activist says it “may save humanity’s bacon”.

Will 3D-printed food solve world hunger?

Some say…

Of course not! The technology is expensive and will only be popular with rich people in restaurants. Besides, science can never be a complete solution. World hunger is not just a problem about food. It is about money, education and inequality. If we really want to help people in need, we need to change society.

Others think…

Why not? Science has already helped fight hunger through genetic modification. This could do the same. It will leave space to grow crops instead of cows. And if we can print out meat, why not other foods? If the science gets easier to use, it could mean nobody will have to go without food.

You Decide

  1. Should all school meals be meat free?

Activities

  1. Imagine you work for a restaurant selling the 3D printed steak. Create an advert that will tempt people to order it from the menu.

Some People Say...

“Not eating meat is a decision, eating meat is an instinct.”

Denis Leary

What do you think?

Word Watch

3D printer
A printer that creates three dimensional (3D) solid objects.
Years
The lab has also been working with the International Space Station. In 2019, it grew meat in space.
From scratch
Making something without using anything that has been done before. Making meat from scratch would mean making it without an animal.
Cells
Tiny building blocks that exist in every living thing. Some living things, like yeast, have only one cell. A cow has billions. Scientists take a few cells without hurting the cow at all.
Artificially
Made by humans, fake.
Slaughter
The act of killing something. Animals are slaughtered to make meat.
Cattle
Cows. Farming them takes up a lot of space and in many places, trees have to be cut down to make space for them. This harms the environment and destroys habitats.
Activist
Somebody who fights for a cause they believe in. Greta Thunberg is an activist.
Save humanity’s bacon
If something saves your bacon, you get out of a difficult or dangerous situation.
Genetic modification
Sometimes known as GM. Technology that changes the genes in a plant or animal. Genetically modified plants produce more food with less space and so feed more people for less. Ninety per cent of the world’s GM farmers live in poorer countries.
Crops
Living plants grown by farmers. Cereals like wheat and maize are types of crop.

Subjects

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