A History of Cultured Meat

This is a timeline following key dates in the development of cultured meat. New Harvest's activities as the organization advancing this exciting new food are mentioned alongside.


1912-01-17 00:00:00

Alexis Carrel Begins "Immortal" Culture #725

Alexis Carrel places a piece of tissue cultured from embryonic chicken heart tissue in a self-designed flask. The piece of tissue stays alive for 34 years, with regular supply of nutrients and removal of waste products. This went on to become the world-famous "immortal" cell strain. Carrel believed that tissues could live outside of an organism indefinitely, as he declared in his paper "On the permanent life of tissues outside of the organism."

1931-12-01 14:43:42

Churchill Imagines Cultured Meat in "50 Years Hence"

Winston Churchill's essay "Fifty Years Hence" is published in Strand Magazine, where he predicts a future with cultured meat: "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium."

1946-04-26 00:00:00

Alexis Carrel's Culture #725 is discarded

Culture #725 dies and is discarded, allegedly only because a student failed to provide the culture with fresh nutrients.

1961-12-01 00:00:00

Carrel's Immortal Cell Experiment Debunked: The Hayflick Limit

Hayflick and Moorhead determine that cells are not immortal, as described by Carrel, but actually have a limited lifespan in culture. The number of times a cell divides (which appears to be a maximum of fifty) is termed the Hayflick Limit.

1967-08-01 00:00:00

Carrel's Cultured Chick Cells Shown to Have Limited Lifespan

Hay and Strehler find that embryonic chicken cells are limited to 25 cell doublings in culture, translating to about 2 months. This is in stark contrast to Carrel's 34 year culturing experiment.

1981-12-01 00:00:00

Churchill Misses the Mark

The prediction Churchill made 50 years prior hasn't come true on schedule.

1995-01-01 00:00:00

FDA Approves In Vitro Meat Techniques

NASA conducted early experiments on in vitro meat in hopes of finding a new food source for long space voyages. The in vitro meat production technique was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995.

1999-01-01 00:00:00

Cultured Fish Filet

NASA funded research entitled "An In Vitro Edible Muscle Protein Production System (MPPS)" led by Morris Benjaminson from Touro College in New York City. Goldfish muscle explants were isolated and cultured in vitro, which was later dipped in olive oil, breaded, and deep-fried. A panel of testers agreed the fillet looked and smelled like the real thing, though no one was able to taste the fillet because US laws prohibit consumption of experimental products.

1999-06-24 00:00:00

The First Cultured Meat Patent Filed

Willem van Eelen secures the first cultured meat patent, entitled "Industrial Production of Meat Using Cell Culture Methods".

2000-01-01 00:00:00

The Semi-Living Steak Project

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr from Harvard Medical School grew prenatal sheep skeletal cells into a coin-sized, semi-living steak.

2003-03-01 00:00:00

Disembodied Cuisine

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr present their Disembodied Cuisine project at the international biological art exhibition "L’Art Biotech" in Nantes, France. As part of the art installation, the semi-living steak produced from cultured frog skeletel cells was fried in honey and garlic, and tasted by the artists themselves, together with two curators, the chef, and six volunteers. The texture resembled jellied fabric.

2004-07-23 00:00:00

New Harvest Enters The World Stage

New Harvest incorporated as a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 charitable tax status in the United States

2004-08-01 00:00:00

Victimless Leather

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr at SymbioticA successfully grow Victimless Leather in the shape of a miniature stitch-less coat. The leather-like living tissue was grown using mouse 3T3 cells topped with human bone cells to form a living layer of tissue supported by a biodegradable polymer matrix. The project was first presented to the public as part of the exhibition "The Space Between" in Australia.

2004-10-29 00:00:00

New Harvest Presents at Conference

New Harvest is invited to present at the "Transition towards sustainable protein supply chains" symposium, PROFETAS Conference, at Wageningen International Conference Center, the Netherlands.

2004-10-29 00:00:00

New Harvest advises Dutch Government Funding

New Harvest's Jason Matheny meets with the Netherlands' Agriculture Minister, to advise on funding cultured meat research.

2004-12-28 00:00:00

The First Tissue-Engineered Meat Patent Filed

John F Vein secures patent for "Method for producing tissue engineered meat for consumption", in which he proposes a process of producing meat products by culturing muscle cells, fat cells, and/or cartilage cells together ex vivo. US 6,835,390 B1

2005-01-01 00:00:00

Scientists Receive a Grant To Study In Vitro Meat Development

Henk Haagsman at Utrecht University received a €2 million grant from the Dutch government to study in vitro meat development using stem cells. This research made a major contribution to the field and involved scientists from University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, and Eindhoven University of Technology.

2005-05-01 00:00:00

Cultured Meat Makes a Splash

New Harvest interviews with the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Economist, Scientific American, Popular Science, New Scientist, and dozens of others. The New York Times included cultured meat in its "Ideas of the Year" issue. Discover Magazine included cultured meat in its list of "Top Science Stories of the Year".

2005-05-03 00:00:00

Scientists Publish The First Peer-Reviewed Journal Article On Cultured Meat

New Harvest's founder Jason Matheny assembles an international group of scientists to tackle cultured meat production. The article "In vitro-cultured Meat Production" is published in Tissue Engineering, authored by P.D. Edelman, D.C. McFarland, V.A. Mironov, and New Harvest founder J.G. Matheny. This article was the first article to seriously look at cultured meat considering modern advances in science. In many ways this was the article that made cultured meat a topic of discussion in the media.

2006-12-31 00:00:00

New Harvest Funds Research at Utrecht University

New Harvest provides research funding to Utrecht University to support cultured meat research.

2007-07-01 00:00:00

New Harvest Joins The In Vitro Meat Consortium

New Harvest begins collaboration with Europe-based In Vitro Meat Consortium. Jason Matheny from New Harvest joins the steering committee.

2008-03-31 00:00:00

Evaluation Of The Economic Feasibility Of In Vitro Meat Production

Final version of eXmoor Pharma Preliminary Economics Study for the In Vitro Meat Consortium was completed. Economists at eXmoor Pharma Concepts concluded that it should be cheaper to produce in vitro meat in large quantities than unsubsidized chicken meat. Results from the study were published in "The In Vitro Meat Consortium Preliminary Economics Study Project 29071, V5 March 2008".

2008-04-09 00:00:00

The First International In Vitro Meat Conference

The First In Vitro Meat Symposium was held at the Norwegian Food Research Institute in Aas, Norway. The event was hosted by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the Norwegian Food Research Institute. Jason Matheny from New Harvest gave the first general introduction at the symposium.

2009-04-01 00:00:00

New Harvest Funds Strategic Plan

New Harvest funds Strategic Plan for Cultured Meat Development, identifying main technical and market barriers to cultured meat.

2009-12-09 00:00:00

In Vitro Lamb

BBC documentary Hot Planet airs featuring a piece of cultured lamb grown out of sheep muscle cells by Oron Catts at the University of Western Australia. The in vitro lamb was later presented to English celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

2011-05-01 00:00:00

New Harvest Contributes to Cultured Meat Research Funding Decisions

New Harvest advises two foundations on funding for meat alternatives, one of which ended up funding the cultured hamburger project conducted by Mark Post's lab at Maastricht University .

2011-06-02 00:00:00

Peer-Reviewed Study on Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat

"Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat Production," a peer-reviewed academic study funded by New Harvest, is accepted to the journal Environmental Science and Technology. This key environmental assessment paper has since been cited a countless number of times in quantifying the potential environmental benefit of cultured meat.

2011-12-05 00:00:00

TED MED 2011

Gabor Forgacs, co-founder of Modern Meadows, gives a live demonstration of cooking and eating meat engineered using a 3D bioprinting process.

2012-02-16 00:00:00

New Harvest Funds Speakers at AAAS Meeting

New Harvest funds conference registration, accommodation and transportation expenses for Pat O. Brown, Keshun Liu, Mark Post, and Nicholas Genovese to speak at and attend the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual Meeting 2012 in Vancouver, Canada at the session "The Next Agricultural Revolution: Emerging Production Methods for Meat Alternatives".

2012-06-26 00:00:00

New Harvest Funds Speakers at IFT Expo

New Harvest funds conference registration, accommodation, and transportation expenses for speakers Ethan Brown, Josh Tetrick, Mirko Betti, and Nicholas Genovese to speak at and attend the IFT (Institute for Food Technologists) Expo 2012 in Las Vegas at the session “New Frontiers in Sustainable Animal-Independent Dietary Protein Production Technologies”.

2012-08-01 00:00:00

Peter Thiel Gets Onboard

The Thiel Foundation provides Modern Meadow with a six-figure grant.

2012-08-31 00:00:00

European Science Foundation Cultured Meat Workshop in Sweden

The European Science Foundation Exploratory holds a workshop titled: In-vitro Meat: Possibilities and Realities for a Future Meat Source. The workshop, held in Gothenburg, Sweden, is attended by 27 multidisciplinary scientists from around the world.

2012-09-05 00:00:00

New Harvest Seminar Series at TERMIS

New Harvest community members create a seminar series at TERMIS (Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society) World Congress 2012 in Vienna, Austria. The seminar series was called "Tissue Engineered Nutrition".

2012-09-08 00:00:00

First Tissue Engineered Nutrition symposium held

The symposium held at the main TERMIS (Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Int'l Society) congress in Vienna was also, the first time this topic was integrated into a major and mainstream scientific conference. Panelists included Mark Post, Nick Genovese, Gabor Forgacs and Bernard Roelen

2012-10-26 00:00:00

New Harvest at TEDx

New Harvest executive director Isha Datar speaks at TEDxToronto. The talk is titled "Re-Thinking Meat".

2013-01-15 00:00:00

New Harvest Hires

New Harvest takes on a full-time, paid Executive Director: Isha Datar

2013-02-10 00:00:00

Modern Meadow at Google Solve for X

Modern Meadow's Andras Forgacs speaks at Google Solve for X, where he discusses the possibility of producing meat using 3D printing and tissue engineering.

2013-06-13 00:00:00

Tanned Cultured Leather Debuts

Modern Meadow's Andras Forgacs speaks about a future of biofabrication at TEDGlobal, revealing the first pieces of cultured leather.

2013-08-05 00:00:00

Mark Post's Cultured Hamburger Tasted in London

The first cultured hamburger produced by Mark Post's lab is tasted, and the anonymous philanthropist advised by New Harvest to fund the project is revealed to be Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder

A History of Cultured Meat

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