In recent years, the field of 3D printing has become one of the most talked about fields in the world of technology, one that many want to take part in and try their luck in. One of those many is an Israeli company, which managed to bring about a global breakthrough in the field – after printing a fish fillet on a 3D printer.
Israeli startup Steakholder Foods, which operates in Rehovot, succeeded in producing fish fillets, prompting the company's CEO, Arik Kaufman, to define printing as "a significant milestone in the field of food."
Lab worker at Steakholder Foods, Photo: Reuters
In an interview on the website of the American news network CNN, Mihir Farshad, founder and CEO of the Singaporean company Umami Meats, which collaborated with the Israeli company, said: "At the first taste we presented a cultured product that has the texture and taste of fish, which is wiped in the mouth just like a fish should."
"We still eat and consume meat the same way we consumed it thousands of years ago," Kaufman added, "so we decided to adopt a new approach and try to reinvent the way meat is produced." Cultured meat contains real protein and is grown in a laboratory using stem cells, so raw meat is not used in its preparation. For years, the vegetarian-vegan food industry has been aiming to get the taste of the "real thing" without harming animals and the environment.
Even before the company even began developing its fish fillet, it focused on something completely different – the name of the dish. The meat culture process begins with taking stem cells from animals and growing them in bioreactors, which is a production system for an environment of biological activity. Later in the process, fat or muscle cells are attached to the cells, which eventually form tissues, which are used to create the final portion of "meat" using a 3D printer.
"Our secret sauce is in our printing skills," says Kaufman, who also noted that printed steaks don't have the same taste and texture as the real thing, but he's confident the company will be able to do so by the next decade.
Eric Kaufman, CEO of Steakholder Foods, Photo: Reuters
The transition to cultured meat could be an important step for humanity, as according to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year, this type of meat could help reduce global emissions by growing it in the laboratory and reducing the animals' grazing areas, irrigation and feeding.
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