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Law, sociology and biochemical engineering experts have joined forces to assess the risks and impact of cell-based meat.

The major new interdisciplinary study is funded by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, with support from the Leverhulme Trust.

The research project has been selected for an APEX Award (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary Research) to analyse the future of cell-based meat on politics, society and law, and to identify risks to be mitigated if it is made widely available for sale.

These include issues with the technical process of production like increased costs or energy needs, waste disposal and the impact on the environment, threats to farming jobs and how the law can protect people when cell-based meat is exported between countries.

Researchers will interview players from the cell-based meat industry, including those from UK companies and representatives from government, policy and food and the environment sector. They will also hold workshops with members of the public and potential consumers and cell-based meat producers.

Researchers involved in the project are Neil Stephens, associate professor in science and technology studies from the University of Birmingham; Petra Hanga, lecturer in biochemical engineering from UCL; and Mariela de Amstalden, senior lecturer in law and technology from the University of Exeter Law School.

The results will be shared with scientists, policymakers and the wider public.

New interdisciplinary study will track impact of cell-based meat on society

Phoebe Fraser

13 February 2024

New interdisciplinary study will track impact of cell-based meat on society

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