By Olamide Tejuoso
The United Kingdom government is ready to produce cell-based meat through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is a part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The new £12 million Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub (CARMA), led by the University of Bath, would run for seven years, developing cell-based proteins. UKRI has stated that the hub was established with the mandate of investigating how to manufacture cell-based meat at scale. It added that this development could reduce carbon emissions and land use by up to 95% when compared with traditional food production.
According to the UKRI, the CARMA’s goal is “to develop and deliver practical, scalable manufacturing technologies, systems process feed stocks and skills with potential to have an impact and generate benefits at regional, national and international levels”. The investment of this project comes from the £120m of research and development allocated for cell-based research in the UK Government Food Strategy from 2022. Justifying the development, the UK Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman said: “With about 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050, we need to double world food production on the same land area, using half as much energy and water. We cannot achieve that through traditional agriculture. The Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub will spearhead the development of new processes to produce key food groups like proteins sustainably and cost-effectively, to feed a growing global population”. While some food organisations have praised this development, stating it was a right step toward achieving the UK’s climate goals; recently, the Italian government announced a ban on cell-based food in order to protect the country’s food traditions.