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This lab-grown chicken and duck meat looks surprisingly delicious

This piece of fried chicken is not what it seems. Memphis Meats moves beyond beef meatballs into chicken and duck meat grown from animal cells.

Southern-fried cultured chicken.
Memphis Meats

In the not-too-distant future, you may be able to serve up a tantalizing duck a l'Orange and proudly declare, "No bird was harmed in the making of this dinner." Memphis Meats, a "clean meat" innovator, announced on Wednesday the production of chicken and duck meat grown directly from poultry cells.

"It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn't require raising animals," Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said in a statement. "This is a historic moment for the clean-meat movement."

The San Francisco Bay Area company released a series of gourmet photos showing the meat prepared as southern-fried chicken and duck a l'Orange. The images look indistinguishable from offerings you might expect to see in a high-end restaurant.

The "clean meat" creation starts with the harvesting of meat cells from livestock (don't worry, the livestock live through this). Select cells are then fed nutrients and grown in a clean environment. It takes four to six weeks to grow the meat large enough to harvest for eating. Memphis Meats prefers to compare its process with that of a brewery, rather than a lab.

One big question, of course, regards taste. Memphis Meats answers this query in its online FAQ: "Most importantly, our meat is delicious! It's real meat, and life-long meat eaters immediately recognize it and enjoy it."

Memphis Meats has already dabbled in beef, unveiling a cultured meat-cell meatball in February 2016. The company isn't hanging a price tag on its products yet, but says its team "expects to continue reducing production costs dramatically, with a target launch of its products to consumers in 2021."

The race is on to bring cultured meat to the dinner table. A team from Maastricht University in the Netherlands developed a lab-grown burger in 2013. And Israeli cultured-meat startup SuperMeat has raised nearly $230,000 on Indiegogo to help fund its work developing lab-grown chicken meat.

"Lab-grown meat" doesn't sound very appetizing, so Memphis Meats describes its new creation as "clean poultry." Perhaps we could figure out a more marketable phrase, like "flightless, featherless, boneless chicken" or "meat-wow."

No-duck a l'Orange.

Memphis Meats

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