Lab-Grown Foie Gras is Here to Take Away the Ethical Concerns

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Lab-Grown Foie Gras is Here to Take Away the Ethical Concerns” – below is their description.

Few foods are simultaneously able to raise feelings of delight and repulsion quite as deftly as foie gras. A fatty duck or goose liver that’s so buttery it’s both delicate and rich, foie gras is considered by many as one of the most luxurious foods. In France its consumption is a ritual deeply rooted in the country’s tradition and culture—no holiday, from Christmas to Bastille Day, is complete without it. But its decadence makes the brutality of how it’s farmed all the more acute: A controversial process known as gavage, where birds are force-fed several times a day through metal tubes until their livers swell, is often considered savage.

Animal welfare concerns have spurred more than a dozen countries to ban production. Next year, New York City will follow California in outlawing sales at restaurants, while the U.K. is mulling an import ban. Even in France, a YouGov poll shows that some three-quarters of people say they would prefer the delicacy sans gavage if they had the choice.

“Foie gras is going through an existential crisis,” says Nicolas Morin-Forest, co-founder of Gourmey, a Paris-based cultivated-meat startup that wants to tap the expected market gap with an offering that is gavage- and even slaughter-free. “We will be essentially unleashing the full foie gras potential and detangling the product from the controversy.”

Gourmey’s product is made from duck stem cells harvested from a single fertilized egg, then grown in vitro, a technology embraced by the nascent cultured-meat industry, which by some estimates is set to claw a 35% share of the $1.8 trillion global meat market by 2040. In stainless-steel tanks known as bioreactors, the cells are fed nutrients to multiply and eventually form whatever tissue is desired, be it fat, muscle, or sinew. More than 70 startups globally are working on everything from pork chops to kangaroo meat to bluefin tuna in response to environmental and livestock welfare concerns.

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