Starving Dietitian

Where’s the Beef?


The words “Lab Grown Meat” will, in most cases, be met with disgust. “Yuck” some might say, “I don’t want to eat from a petri dish”… or do you?

I think this is a normal response, irrational but expected. I mentioned before that part of The Feast and Famine would look at the foods headed to our plate. Specifically, ways we could manufacture meat in a more sustainable, economical, and ethical way. Lab grown meat, my friends, is certainly in your future.

Lab grown, in-vitro, “green”, all these terms have been tossed around to describe this emerging technology. Many of which are less than appetizing.

The technology is both simple and yet stunningly complex. The method used by Modern Meadow, a company at the forefront of development, utilizes a nutritious slurry of amino acids, minerals, salts, sugars, and animal cells. That spark your appetite? Actually, the technology borrows from the very same that allows patients to receive cultured skin grafts. Saving lives and feeding hunger.

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Once you get past the idea of the meat itself, you’ll actually find a variety of opportunities in front of us. How about meat with lower phosphorous for kidney failure? Oh! Or steak with added Omega 3s, or vitamin D. “Nutrimeat” we could call it. Why cook three birds for turducken when you can just buy mixed meat tur-duck-en, hand made of course.  The possibilities are endless.

And let’s not forget ethics. Since no animal is killed for this meat, the 30% of vegans and vegetarians who do so for animal safety can take part without worry. Further still there’s environmental ethics. A piece of handmade beef takes up substantially less land and food while drastically cutting emissions.

At some point you’re only left with arguments of what looks and tastes “normal” to oppose it. But don’t start stockpiling cow parts. We have a long way to go, about a decade in fact. Prices at this point would be about $100 per pound.

Hit the jump below to see the cofounder of Modern Meadows eating some of the first 3D printed meat.

Now for the biggest barrier, what to call it. It won’t matter how efficient or economical it is, if it goes to market with a name like “In vitro meat” it might as well throw in the towel.  So what should we use? Farm Free Meat? Hand Made Meat? Or my personal favorite, Vidameat.

Have a better name? Leave it in the comments!

We’re just beginning a technology that will without a doubt change the planet, whether you’re ok with it or not. Most people I’ve asked seem disgusted, then intrigued, then supportive. We’re far from  finished with this topic, so bet on a further look as details come to the surface.

Until then,

Be good to each other.

-J. Iufer


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