Lighting Q&A: Cultivated Meat

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Are cultured/cultivated meat products real meat? Yes, because they are produced from real animal cells.

If I’m allergic to traditional shellfish, will I be allergic to cultured shellfish? Yes, because cultured shellfish is produced from shellfish cells, which contain the same allergens as traditional shellfish.

Does cultured meat contain all the nutrients found in traditional meat? There isn’t yet a clear answer to this question. It might be possible to replace less healthy saturated fats with healthier types of monounsaturated fats, and to add more vitamins and minerals in a process similar to that of fortifying breakfast cereal. 

Do cultivated meats contain GMOs? It's most likely that companies will use both genetically modified and unmodified cells to make cultivated meat products. 

Will cultivated meat have the same smell, taste, and texture as traditional meat? Scientists are working to replicate the sensory experience of traditional meat, with the hope that consumers will not be able to tell the difference between cultured meats and traditional meats.

By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, CPT


  1. Good Food Institute. 2020State of the Industry Report: Cultivated Meat.  accessed 10-25-21
  2. Michigan State University. Center for Research on Ingredient Safety.  accessed 10-26-21
  3. UC Davis. Cows and Climate Change. Making cattle more sustainable. Amy Quinton. June 27, 2019.  
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food Made With Cultured Animal Cells. content current as of 10/6/20; accessed 10/25/21
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Seeks Input on Labeling of Food Made with Cultured Seafood Cells. content current as of 10/6/20; accessed 10/25/21
  6. Post, M.J., Levenberg, S., Kaplan, D.L. et al. Scientific, sustainability and regulatory challenges of cultured meat. Nat Food 1, 403–415 (2020).
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