New Alternative Meat Product Brings Controversy

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COLUMBIA -A new company looking to use high-tech 3-D printing to make an alternative meat source has raised eyebrows among local scientists and meat producers.

Modern Meadows is trying to develop a prototype that will be constructed by layering animal cells on top of each other to basically recreate meat.

"There's definitely a question of morality, in the sense of playing God," said beef nutrition specialist Justin Sexten.

The idea originally stemmed from bio-printing, in which scientists build tissues and organ structures for purposes of regenerative medicine.

Modern Meadows refused to speak to KOMU 8 News about what exactly it is researching. However, it does state in the USDA project proposal that it wants to develop the product because of the health risks of the present farm and industrial meat production. Modern Meadows also stresses their "no kill" policy for the production of leather and meat.

It also says in the proposal "The ultimate product that will be developed based on the proposed studies is an animal muscle strip that can be used as minced meat for the preparation of sausages, patties and nuggets."

"I don't think it can ever compete with meat. There is going to be a big question of the meat's textural component. People expect meat to be able to be thrown on the grill," said Sexten.

Modern Meadows will be moving to MU's Life Sciences Incubator in September.