Lab-Grown Meat: Future Climate Solution or Icky Science Experiment?

Lab-grown meat has the potential to be a more safe, ethical, and sustainable meat alternative. But the industry is facing a lot of hurdles.



If you could grow anything in a lab, what would it be?

Unlike plant-based proteins like Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers, lab-grown meat is actually meat. Scientists take stem cells from a cow, chicken, or any other animal, culture them in a lab, and create anything from steak to seafood to leather to egg whites. The process hasn’t been perfected yet, and Americans can’t buy lab-grown meat in the supermarket, but startups and investors have flooded this market with the hope that lab-grown meat could become a safer, more ethical, and more sustainable competitor to conventional meat. That said, lab-grown meat still faces many hurdles to get there, from cost to public perception to a part of the production process that still leads to the slaughter of animals. Today, we explore how lab-grown meat is made, what the barriers are, and how the industry could overcome them. With special guest Dr. David Block: Ernest Gallo Endowed Chair of Viticulture and Enology and Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of California, Davis.

The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at

This story has been supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems. Learn more at

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Writers: Olivia Amitay, Maddy Schmidt, Ethan Brown
Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley
Editor: Frank Hernandez
Producers: Olivia Amitay, Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, Dain Kim, Caroline Koehl
Ad Voiceover: Robert Branning
Music: Brett Sawka

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.


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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


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