A Parisian start-up believes that lab-grown foie gras has a bright future.
Can foie gras created from duck cells find a place at the table for gourmet food fans? It’s the iconic French delicacy, but it’s increasingly being targeted by animal welfare advocates.
Gourmey, a Paris-based startup, collected $10 million (8.5 million euros) this month from European and American investors to refine its formula for fattened duck liver in the lab.
One of Gourmey’s three creators, Nicolas Morin-Forest, said, “There’s a very significant need for an alternative to normal foie gras, a problematic product that needs to re-invent itself.”
He explained, “We want to show that cultured meat isn’t just for burgers; it can also be utilized for culinary products.”
Duck livers are treasured either on their own — famous chef Alain Ducasse served them grilled with stewed pears – or prepared into a silky foie gras pate.
It’s made by forcing food down ducks’ throats using a tube, a process that some say is unnecessarily cruel and stressful for the creatures.
For years, California has prohibited the selling of foie gras, and New York will follow suit next year.
Britain outlaws the manufacturing of foie gras and is considering a ban on sales, while European Parliament legislators urged this month that forced feeding of ducks or geese, another source of foie gras, be prohibited.
Environmentalists are also targeting mass meat production, claiming that it wastes too much water and energy while emitting massive volumes of methane, a greenhouse gas.
“With 9.5 billion people on the earth in 2050, we’ll need to produce a lot more meat – the traditional models, which need a lot of resources, won’t be enough,” Morin-Forest added.
Gourmey, which is based in a university research facility, has spent the last two years perfecting its procedure for making fake livers that pass inspection with chefs and foodies.
Antoine Davydoff, a cellular biologist, and Victor Sayous, a doctoral student in molecular biology, founded the company, which presently employs roughly 20 people.
“We’re 90 percent there in terms of taste and texture,” said Sayous, who originates from the foie gras heartland of southwest France.
“I offered it to my family on toasts last Christmas without telling them, alongside standard foie gras. Some people were taken aback and didn’t realize the difference,” he claimed.
The first step in their process is to take cells from a fertilized duck egg and place them in an aluminum “cultivator” where they swim in a. Brief News from Washington Newsday.