San Francisco startup growing 'meat' from animal cells

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) Most of the meat we consume comes from a ranch or a farm, but a San Francisco startup is creating meat in a lab.

Chef Joshua Hyman is cooking up this chicken nugget as he would any other, but this meat is unique -- it was grown in a lab.

"People wanna eat meat, but the reality is there are some issues with it," Hyman said.

Josh Tetrick, the CEO of JUST Inc., believes "cultured meat" is the future of sustainable mass food production. This meat is created without killing an animal.

"You can do it just by taking a cell from some of the best animals in the world -- like Wagyu cows in Japan -- identifying nutrients to feed that cell and then you can actually manufacture clean, tasty, ground beef without all the other stuff that comes along with it," Tetrick said.

The process begins with a team selecting animal cells taken from biopsies or blood samples, which are then incubated in a liquid broth. Within about two weeks the cells grow into meat.

"If you think about beer, if you think about wine, they're also obtained in these fermenters, these tanks. That's very similar to what we do in the setting for cultured meat," said Vitor Santo with JUST.

The company hopes to one day be able to grow its product by the tons.

As for the taste...

Reporter Chris Martinez: Tastes just like chicken.
Chef Joshua Hyman: That's because it is.

Other companies are also working to bring lab grown meat to the market. JUST Inc. plans to release its chicken nugget in Asia next year, but U.S. shoppers will have to wait. Both the USDA and FDA still need to approve the process.