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ECONOMY > Agriculture

Japanese, U.S. firms tie up to develop cultured meat

  • December 25, 2018
  • , Jiji Press , 12:39 a.m.
  • English Press

Chicago, Dec. 24 (Jiji Press)–U.S. food company Just Inc. and Japanese meat producer Toriyama Chikusan Shokuhin have forged a partnership for the development of cultured meat, aiming to supply tasty “wagyu” Japanese beef to consumers around the world.

It is believed to be the first time that Japanese and U.S. companies have tied up for cultured meat development.

 

Under the tie-up, San Francisco-based Just will culture cells taken from Akagi brand wagyu beef cows raised at Toriyama Chikusan’s farm in Gunma Prefecture in eastern Japan, in order to create meat with the same quality as real Akagi beef.

 

Companies racing to develop cultured meat face common challenges–reducing production costs and improving the tastes and textures of such meat.

 

It remains to be seen when cultured meat to be developed by Just and Toriyama Chikusan will go on sale, with Just officials saying that approval from regulatory authorities will be required, among other conditions.

 

Cultured meat is produced from cells of cows, pigs and other animals under a clean environment. The method does not involve the slaughtering of animals while emissions of greenhouse gases can be reduced.

 

Cultured meat is also said to be safer than conventional meat as antibiotics or growth hormones are not used during its production.

 

CoBank, a major U.S. lender for agribusiness companies, expects that dishes using cultured meat will begin to be served at restaurants and other outlets in several years thanks to price falls on the back of technological innovations.

 

Just Chief Executive Officer Josh Tetrick has said that the company hopes to utilize the good taste of wagyu beef in cultured meat.

 

Makoto Toriyama, president of Toriyama Chikusan, based in the Gunma city of Shibukawa, has stressed that cultured meat will help realize a more sustainable meat production system at a time when demand for food continues to rise amid the growing world population.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department have agreed to jointly introduce regulations on cultured meat, in anticipation of the commercialization of such meat in the not-so-distant future.

 

Meanwhile, meat industries are increasingly alert for expected competition from cultured meat. An industry official said that beef only refers to meat taken from cows raised and processed in conventional methods.

 

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