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Clean Meat at Illinois (In Progress)

Recent Project Updates


Food insecurity is a major public health issue in the United States, affecting over 1 million Illinoisans in 2018 and over 13 million Americans in 2019 (Feeding America, 2019; USDA, 2019). Furthermore, nearly 20% of greenhouse emissions come from livestock and around 70% of all land used for agricultural production is used for breeding and maintaining livestock (UN Report, 2006; FAO Report, 2012). With the onset of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and forcasted global population increases, food insecurity is a pressing issue that exists at the intersection of these troubling socio-economic, public health, and environmental trends. Clean meat technology is a necessary and effective solution to our current and future food insecurity crisis because it offers better food security and resource equity, significant environmental and sustainability benefits, and reduced public health risks compared to present practices in industry. Clean meat, or cultivated meat, is a food product that is produced from growing animal cells of interest (cow, pig, chicken, etc.) at scale in a laboratory setting to achieve a biomass of suitable size for consumption.

It is commonly referred to as clean meat because it is produced in a cruelty-free setting and has a reduced environmental impact compared to standard meat products. The goal of this project is to implement a robust clean meat initiative on campus to provide more sustainable food products for students, and so that the University of Illinois can be a model to other universities and organizations in how to champion sustainable, environmentally friendly movements that effectively address real-world issues. Specifically, this project intends to capitalize on the remarkable enthusiasm our campus population has for sustainability and the world-class expertise our graduate students and faculty have in tissue engineering, agricultural and biological engineering, and food science by bringing these two groups together to form a robust, campus-wide clean meat movement.

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Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Aidan Brougham-Cook