Sunday, July 3, 2011

Man-made Meat

4th of July BurgerImage via Wikipedia
The 4th of July weekend is one of the biggest weekends for cooking outside.   To me, there is nothing better than a juicy steak or hamburgers cooked outside on a grill.  They taste even better when grilled over charcoal instead of propane.

One day during the past week, I was reviewing some food news emails when I saw a link that I had to click.  The link led to a news article called "Man-made Meat May be Just Around the Corner."  The scientists have developed an in vitro process in which they take stem cells from cattle and allow them to multiply.  After the cells multiply a billion times they can create muscle mass which can then be used to create a burger.  They expect to have a burger ready to be tasted in 12 months.

The scientists below that the studies could lead to sustainable, inexpensive meat production to meet the growing demand for meat throughout the world.  Studies estimate that the in vitro meat production technique would also use 35-60% less energy, use 98% less land, and emit 80-95% less greenhouse gasses than traditional livestock protection methods.  That should please those that still believe in anthropomorphic climate change, however, a lot of those same people also opposed things like genetically modified crops.  They might have a cow with beef produced in a lab.

I am not really show how I feel about the idea of burgers created in the lab.  I remember the furor a few years ago when I was working at a grocery chain in the area when some manufacturers were using GMO corn during the production process of things like tortillas.  There was a national recall of several corn products because the GMO corn had not been approved for production use.  The same when the FDA approved irradiation for ground beef.

I will say that the idea is fascinating to me.  With the higher cost of food products these days, the prospect of a lower cost protein food source is definitely appealing.  Also, with less grain being used for raising livestock, the cost of those products could also conceivably decrease as well.  However, call me old fashioned or a purist.  Natural is better.  I suppose that if it were to be thoroughly tested, then I might want to give it a shot.  What are your thoughts?  Would you want your burger created in a lab, rather than straight from the cow?
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  1. i've thought about this a bit, and i think it would probably be ok for hamburger, but it would need to have some fat added. real meat is not all lean. it would be an alternative to killing so many animals.



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