Israeli slaughter-free meat start-up launches visitor center

The visitor center aims to educate the public regarding the potential and importance of producing meat with full traceability, without harming animals.

Aleph Farms' slaughter-free steak on a pan (photo credit: AFIK GABAY)
Aleph Farms' slaughter-free steak on a pan
(photo credit: AFIK GABAY)
Slaughter-free meat start-up Aleph Farms announced the launch of a visitor center at its Rehovot headquarters on Tuesday, showcasing its “nature-inspired” and sustainable approach to producing meat.
The company, co-founded by Prof. Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and food-tech incubator The Kitchen, first made waves in the food industry in December 2018 when it announced the successful production of the world’s first “cell-grown minute steak,” grown from cells extracted painlessly from a living cow.
The visitor center aims to educate the public regarding the potential and importance of producing meat with full traceability, without causing harm to animals and with significantly less impact on the environment. Aleph Farms especially hopes to harness the youth-driven campaign for climate action and growing interest in cellular agriculture.
“The initiative of launching a visitor center came on the heels of substantial demand we’ve been receiving from schools and universities around the world seeking to visit the facility and meet our team,” Aleph Farms CEO Didier Toubia said. “As a leader in the emerging cultivated-meat ecosystem, it is our responsibility to foster a candid dialogue with younger generations.”
Aleph Farms co-founder and CEO Didier Toubia (Credit: Afik Gabay)Aleph Farms co-founder and CEO Didier Toubia (Credit: Afik Gabay)
Aleph Farms also announced the launch of “Z-Board” on Tuesday, a nine-month global advisory board program for Generation Z members (born between 1995 and 2015). The program will enable young leaders worldwide to be “partners in Aleph’s vision of developing a sustainable food system and building a transparent relationship with consumers and young communities,” the company said.
The company’s cell-grown meat production method requires nourishing and growing cells extracted from an animal to produce a complex matrix replicating muscle tissue. The company said its partnership with the Technion enabled it to overcome a key scientific barrier and enable various cell types to interact with each other to build a complete tissue structure as they would in the natural environment.
The team at Aleph Farms said it has combined six unique technologies enabling it to reduce the production costs and resources required to grow meat, including innovative approaches related to an animal-free growth medium to nourish the cells and bioreactors – the tanks in which the meat tissue grows.
Last October, Aleph Farms announced the successful cultivation of meat aboard the International Space Station, 339 km. from the Earth’s surface. Describing the achievement as “an essential growth indicator of sustainable food production methods,” growing meat in space aimed to showcase the feasibility of reduced reliance on vast stretches of land, water, feed, antibiotics and other resources typically associated with traditional agriculture.
The experiment was carried out on September 26 in the Russian segment of the ISS by experienced cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka. The proof of concept was established by assembling a small-scale muscle tissue in a three-dimensional bio-printer developed by Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions.
“The visitor center’s transparency and authenticity provide a balance between access unlike any meat producer had provided before and the protection over Aleph’s proprietary technologies,” Aleph Farms external-relations manager Yoav Reisler said.
Delegations interested in visiting the center are invited to contact the company, although visitor tours are already fully booked until April, it said. Priority will be given to student delegations and groups from academic, nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, Aleph Farms said.