Israeli startups grow ‘clean meat’ in a lab

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Do you love the taste of a juicy beef steak? Can you imagine a perfect world where your steak is made from live animals but without hurting a single animal? Well, this futuristic world is one step closer to becoming a reality. Israeli startups are developing meat grown in a lab. This meat is a way to get alternative protein while still enjoying the wonderful taste of a beef steak.

The synthetic product, also called “clean meat” is basically made of animal muscle cells grown in a laboratory dish. It’s environment-friendly because it requires 10 times less water, less land, and less energy than regular meat production. Farm animals are responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse gases. Growing meat in a lab will produce less greenhouse gases and also result in less animal suffering. With this technique, one cow could supply the same amount of hamburgers as a million killed animals. 

The Israeli government has granted $25 million to companies that develop food technologies. Israel imports much of its meat from other countries so it is interested in creating food on its own. Clean meat can answer the needs of the world’s ever-growing population and demand for more and more food. A number of rabbis have even said that lab-grown meat is kosher. Because it doesn’t come from a killed animal, some rabbis have even said fake meat could be eaten as a cheeseburger — a combination of meat and milk.

Aleph Farms, an Israeli startup set up in 2017, succeeded in producing a lab-grown “minute steak” made from cow cells that has almost the same texture and flavor of regular beef steak . For now, the tiny steaks are just 3 millimeters wide — the size of a very thin strip of roast beef.

The first lab-grown burger was made by a Dutch company in 2013 at a cost of over $300,000. Production costs have fallen in the years since. Last year, US-based Memphis Meats’ ground beef alternative cost about $2,400 per pound. Each slice of Aleph Farms’ “steak” costs about $50 to produce.

Max Elder, a food scientist at the San Francisco-based Institute for the Future, says the biggest challenge may be convincing people to eat a steak grown in a petri dish. One idea raised to convince people to eat fake meat is asking a celebrity chef to cook the first ever fake burger live on a TV show.  

Still, scientists and environmentalists agree that there is a need for lab-grown alternatives to conventional farming. But the best news is that muscle cells from fake meat are taken from live animals. If no animals are killed, vegetarians might even be convinced to take a bite!


1. What is “clean meat”?

2. What are the benefits of fake meat? mention 2. 

3. Why is Israel investing in companies that develop fake meat?

4. What are the disadvantages of fake meat? mention 2. 

5. What is one way to convince people to start eating “clean meat”?

6. Which two questions have an answer in the text?

  • Why do people prefer to eat fake meat?
  • When was the first fake meat created?
  • How is fake meat created?
  • Which country sells most of the fake meat in the world?

7. Would you rather eat real meat or clean meat? Why?