As you probably heard already, researchers in Europe have managed to grow meat in laboratory conditions, starting out with cow stem cells. They even went a step further and cooked and ate the meat, reporting ho-hum results – the lack of fat was an issue. As my grandfather used to say, “The fat is where the flavor is.” Indeed. So flavor aside, it proved to be a pretty decent substitute, reportedly. The potential here is huge…meat production is widely criticized as not only inhumane, but a significant contributor of greenhouse gas. As the population grows, demand for food will grow with it, so this has the potential to greatly help offset that demand.
What I found really interesting though was a question on FastCompany – Would vegans and vegetarians eat synthetic meat? It’s an interesting conundrum (YES! I’ve been wanting to use that word in a post for a while now). There’s also the aspect of food safety…with concerns like Mad Cow Disease, growth hormones, pink slime, etc, the idea of a tightly controlled lab environment for your food supply has its appeal.
Others are working on the synthetic meat problem too, and with backers such as Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, and Peter Thiel throwing their support at these projects, I think it’s only a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’, you’ll be ordering a test tube burger at McDonald’s within the next decade.