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Food and Drink

30th Mar 2023

Food company creates new meatball using long-extinct mammoth flesh

Fiona Frawley

mammoth meatball

No easy tusk, but they did it.

An Australian food company have created a mammoth meatball by resurrecting the flesh of the long-extinct creatures, in what they say is a sustainable alternative to real meat.

The meatballs were produced by Forged By Vow, with an aim to demonstrate the potential of meat grown from cells, without the slaughter of animals, and to highlight the link between large-scale livestock production and the destruction of wildlife and the climate crisis.

While there’s no shortage of businesses working on and releasing alternatives to beef, pork and chicken, Vow is taking a different approach, using cells from unconventional species to create new kinds of meat.

“We wanted to create something that was totally different from anything you can get now,” Vow founder Tim Noakesmith told Reuters, adding that an additional reason for choosing mammoth is that scientists believe that the animal’s extinction was caused by climate change.

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A post shared by Forged by Vow (@forgedbyvow)

As the mammoth’s DNA sequence obtained by Vow had a few gaps, African elephant DNA was inserted to complete the recipe.

The meatball is said to have the aroma of crocodile meat, and is currently not for consumption.

Speaking to Reuters, Chief Scientific Officer at Vow James Ryall said:

“Its protein is literally 4,000 years old. We haven’t seen it in a very long time. That means we want to put it through rigorous tests, something that we would do with any product we bring to the market.”

While creating cultured meat usually means using blood of a dead calf, Vow used an alternative, meaning no animals were killed in the making of the mammoth meatball.

Vow hopes to put cultured meat on the map in the European Union, a market where such products are not regulated yet.

Header image via Forged by Vow

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