On August 5, 2013, a prototype sample of cultured, or in vitro, meat was tasted at a well-publicized event in London [1]. This hamburger was not grown in an animal, but rather from bovine stem cells in Dr. Mark Post?s laboratory at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The event may foreshadow a day when traditional livestock production has given way to large-scale growth of meat in factories, or carneries. Dr. Post has suggested that commercialization of cultured meat could be ten to twenty years away [1]. The implications are profound. By some accounts the technology could reduce the environmental impacts of meat production [2], promote human health by eliminating harmful contents such as saturated fats and pathogens [2], address global hunger issues [3], and alleviate the ethical concerns associated with industrial livestock operations [4]. However, technologies powerful enough to address such significant challenges often come with unforseen consequences and a host of costs and benefits that seldom accrue to the same actors. In extreme cases, they can even be destabilizing to social, institutional, economic, and cultural systems [5].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7064862
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Social Sciences


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