This is the world’s first cultured steak fillet. Fancy a snack?

A UK start-up has reached another milestone in the strange science of lab-grown meat: the very first cultured steak fillet.

The milestone was set by 3D Bio-Tissues (3DBT), a biotech company based in Newcastle. Founded in 2019, the company cultivated human corneas for people with visual impairments before applying its techniques to meat.

3DBT has good reasons for the move. CE Delft, an independent research agency, estimate that cultured meat can cause 92% less global warming and 93% less air pollution, while using 95% less land and 78% less water.

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There is also a strong business case for the products. Consultancy McKinsey predicts the cultured meat market could reach $25 billion (€26 billion) by 2030.

Made entirely of pig cells, the fillet was 9 cm wide, 4 cm long and 1 cm high. Credit: 3DBT

3DBT’s signature fillet began life as cells taken from pigs. The cells were then cultured, divided and converted into textured meat.

One ingredient the company didn’t use is fetal bovine serum (FBS), a common ingredient for cell growth. The liquid’s popularity has plummeted amid an outcry over fetal bovine production.

Instead of FBS, 3DBT uses a proprietary cell enhancer called City-mix, which ensures structural integrity of the meat.

Cell amplifier
City-mixTM is a stand-alone commercially available product. Credit: 3DBT

That’s all well and good, but the real test is in the taste. According to 3DBT, the product passed with flying colors.

The steak, the company said, replicated the taste, texture and appearance of a regular pork fillet.

“We are absolutely delighted with the look, taste, aroma and texture of our cultured pork. This is the first time we have fully tasted our product,” Che Connon, CEO of 3DBT, said in a statement.

“Our cruelty-free fillet has exceeded our expectations in every way and we are extremely excited about the technological advancements we are making and the impact this could have on our industry.”

Company now plans to present at a public event in London soon.

Roasting the pork steak
Deep-fried, the filet had the familiar charring, crispiness, and flavors of traditional pork. Credit: 3DBT

As a vegetarian whose childhood favorite food was steak, the fillet is another challenge to my (extremely loose) morals. Naturally, I asked to taste the lab-grown delicacy.

We’ll let you know when my request is approved. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the latest cellular meat. Whether you’re a sinless vegetarian or an old-fashioned killer, let us know if you’d give it a try through the usual channels.

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