With more people becoming concerned about the environmental impact of meat, there has been a growing interest in animal meat alternatives. For example, companies like Beyond Meat use plant-based products to simulate the taste and feel of meat, and others are experimenting with methods of recreating the experience of meat without having to raise and slaughter an animal.
One area where there is currently significant development is that of lab-grown meat. While prices for lab-grown meat are currently much higher than their animal meat alternatives, the developers of this lab-grown meat hope that, with growing interest, they can bring down the costs and sell their product as a viable alternative to animal meat.
Currently, lab-grown meat is difficult to find, with just two companies receiving approval to sell their lab-grown chicken. However, that hasn’t stopped TikTok users from developing a conspiracy that lab-grown chicken has been slowly, secretly, making its way into their lives.
In a video with over 315,000 views as of Saturday, TikTok user Layla (@itslayladuhh2) claims that a McDonald’s restaurant sold her lab-grown chicken.
@itslayladuhh2 This is that lab GROWN chicken im sorey im not convinced mama #mcdonalds #labgrownmeat #string ♬ original sound – Layla
“I’m sorry McDonald’s, but this is not real chicken,” Layla says in the video. “This is that lab-grown sh*t.”
What appears to be convincing Layla that the chicken is lab-grown is that the meat peels apart easily. As she puts it, “That looks like spaghetti.”
There are several problems with this theory. First, lab-grown chicken is currently too expensive to produce at scale; therefore, it does not make sense that McDonald’s would utilize a lab-grown product instead of the cheaper, natural alternative.
Secondly, what these TikTokers are observing is a documented phenomenon called “spaghetti meat.” Per a 2019 Wall Street Journal article, “Meat scientists said they suspect the rapid growth rate of commercially raised chickens may lead breast muscle tissue to outgrow the oxygen supply provided by chickens’ developing circulatory systems, at which point muscle fibers can degrade. That can alter the density and texture of the meat, they said.”
On TikTok, users were quick to inform Layla that she was, in fact, eating normal chicken.
“idk I’ve been eating chicken my whole life that looks like cooked chicken,” a user said.
“What? That looks like chicken,” echoed another.
The Daily Dot reached out to McDonald’s via email and Layla via Instagram direct message.