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Test-Tube Burgers Coming Soon

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the grow-mine-medium-rare dept.

Biotech 276

ananyo writes "A burger made entirely from lab-grown meat is expected to be unveiled by October this year. But costing in excess of $250,000, it's not going to be flying off supermarket shelves quite yet. The lab meat is produced using adult stem cells, which are then grown on scaffolds in cell-culture media. Because such lab-assembled muscle is weak, it has to be 'bulked up' by exposing to electric shocks. The researchers, based in the Netherlands, had already grown goldfish fillets in 2002, then fried them in breadcrumbs before giving them to an 'odor and sight' panel to assess whether they seemed edible." While I'm not overly enthusiastic about this Dutch attempt at growing burgers, it is a huge step-up from the Japanese effort.

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276 comments

Question for the other Catholics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101021)

Does this qualify as meat during Lent? Or should I just stick to my Filet-O-Fishes (or is it Filets-O-Fish) for Friday?

Re:Question for the other Catholics (5, Interesting)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101119)

Does this qualify as meat during Lent? Or should I just stick to my Filet-O-Fishes (or is it Filets-O-Fish) for Friday?

Since the whole point of abstaining from meat during Lent is "mortification of the flesh", you could probably go either way.

Re:Question for the other Catholics (5, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101485)

Now here's another interesting philosophical question. I eat a vegan diet for health reasons, mostly to do with the quality of food and how it goes from "animal" to "edible".

Is test-tube meat something that I would eat? What about an ethical vegan? (They don't want animals to suffer.)

Re:Question for the other Catholics (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101505)

Does this qualify as meat during Lent? Or should I just stick to my Filet-O-Fishes (or is it Filets-O-Fish) for Friday?

Since the whole point of abstaining from meat during Lent is "mortification of the flesh", you could probably go either way.

And people wonder why I left Catholicism and Christianity.

I spent this Sunday, BTW, having a Buddhist shifu explain reincarnation as a flame being transferred from one candle to another.

We as a species really need to get away from 2,500 Axial Age religions and bring our spiritual thought into the modern age.

If we don't, religion will destroy us.

Re:Question for the other Catholics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101591)

Yes, trade in that old, worn-out, kooky set of beliefs for a brand-new one! Progress!

Re:Question for the other Catholics (2)

volkram (1283062) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101599)

I spent a weekend listening to a string theorist explain multiple universes. I felt much the same way.

Re:Question for the other Catholics (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101315)

Does this qualify as meat during Lent? Or should I just stick to my Filet-O-Fishes (or is it Filets-O-Fish) for Friday?

They ret-con these things, but if it's 'flesh' in the religious eyes then you can't eat it on Fridays.

Except for beaver, because it spends most of its time in the water (no, really). So, have your Fillets 'O Beaver and be content in your righteousness. Or, read 1 Timothy 4 - your call.

Re:Question for the other Catholics (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101461)

Check the bible. Surely as the authoritative source on everything, it has something to say about eating synthetic meat?

I'm kidding, as someone who was raised a Catholic I know that that particular church doesn't emphasise the Bible as much as Protestant denominations, and places more emphasis on tradition since the church is supposed to be the inheritor of St Peter.

Excited (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101027)

I’m really excited about this stuff. Most of our food is loaded with synthetics anyway, may as well just start from there and be done with it.

The whole animal rights angle is interesting. Cows are primarily bred for food. If we eliminate the need for cow meat, we actually eliminate the need for cows. We won’t be killing a bunch of cows to feed ourselves, but the cows we would have killed won’t exist any more so in a twisted way we are kind of pre-emptively killing them.

Also, they need to come up with some kind of lab grown Dorito-esq chip that’s actually healthy for you and doesn’t taste like crap.

Re:Excited (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101049)

Agree. After we get synthetic meat peta will be mostly content and hopefully disperse.

Re:Excited (3, Informative)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101153)

Oh but they will be replaced by an anti-synthetics group.

At least it will be a different ringing in the ears.

Re:Excited (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101545)

Oh but they will be replaced by an anti-synthetics group.

At least it will be a different ringing in the ears.

Not to worry. PETA will always be a PITA.

Now it's Sea Kittens [peta.org]. (Otherwise known as fish).

You can't make this stuff up! Or at least I can't.

Re:Excited (4, Informative)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101067)

Nothing wrong with killing animals for food. But if they can make it just as good (or even better) in the lab, I'm all for it.

Re:Excited (5, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101133)

Mostly my opinion.

I don't have a problem with animals being killed for food per se. I have more of a problem with the way some of these farms are run / animals are treated. Also farming uses a lot of land, a lot of resources, and generates a tonne of pollution (all of which the lab solution might do as well of course).

Ultimately if a lab solution can replace the need to kill animals, I'm all for it (assuming as you said, it's just as good or better). If for no other reason than no longer having to listen to the animal rights people. I'm sure they will be replaced by an equally annoying anti-synthetic food group in time, but at least it would be a change in the whitenoise.

Re:Excited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101541)

I think it's like that joke“I don't have to run faster than the tiger/lion/bear/zombie/whatever, I only have to run faster than you!"
For me it doesn't have to taste as good/better than real meat, it just have to taste better than Quorn and other meat subtitutes. (and of cource have the right aminoacids, vitamins, minerals etc)

But i think that those animal right people will be even more vocal, some of them will try even harder to stop people from eating real meat and instead make them eat the lab meat that cost 10-1000 times more. While other wants to ban the lab meat for whatever stupid reason, (like the fact that the meat is meat, or that the meat is alive)

Re:Excited (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101559)

Have you seen the inside of some labs these days? Disgusting. Doritos everywhere. Chemicals piled up on racks. Blue LEDs.

You'd want to eat something that came out of that environment?

Not me. I'll go for stuff raised in manure any time.

Re:Excited (1, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101247)

Too bad, I give it 10-20 years from the moment this stuff hits the shelves until the first leftist country bans real meat.

Re:Excited (2)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101487)

Too bad, I give it 10-20 years from the moment this stuff hits the shelves until the first leftist country bans real meat.

Really? With all the anti-GMO propaganda and fear I figure it's more likely the synthetic stuff will be much more likely to be banned. The anti-meat folks are a pretty small minority compared to the OMG-evil-science crowd

Re:Excited (2)

engun (1234934) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101361)

Nothing wrong with killing animals for food....

My mind has been changed on the ethics of that and it was Peter Singer who convinced me of the fact. It's an argument rooted not only in minimizing harm to sentient creatures (and avoiding speciesism), but also on the arguably more distasteful issue another poster mentioned, that of how animals are treated in farms.

Singer's article here [guardian.co.uk] provides the latter argument, but I can't recall sources for his former argument. Perhaps here. [wikipedia.org]

I am looking forward to the wide availability of lab-grown meat. It'll be an altogether more humane alternative to what we are engaging in now. Plus, on a personal note, it'll make me less of a hypocrite, because I still eat meat. As they say, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Re:Excited (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101553)

Nothing wrong with killing animals for food.

I disagree. I've always felt at least a little uncomfortable with the idea of eating animals. I've made several attempts to give up eating meat but this time I think I've succeeded and I've been vegetarian for the last month. It's been bugging me for a while, the way animals are treated in industrial-scale farms and the horror of slaughterhouses. Maybe it's since I started keeping pets that I've become more conscious of the fact that "lower forms of life" have their own quirks, personalities, preferences, etc. I don't drive around with a "meat is murder" bumper sticker on my car, but I've come to believe that it is wrong to keep animals for the purpose of killing them for food and I think that one day we'll look back on the practice and wonder what kind of barbarians we were.

Aside from ethics, there's also the energy efficiency principle. Meat is a hugely inefficient means of converting sunlight to nutrients, and there are health concerns too. My guts actually feel a whole lot better these days, I think it helps that I've cut out a lot of processed food and I've escaped a lot of the ubiquitous High Fructose Corn Syrup that seems to have worked its way into just about everything.

Re:Excited (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101085)

I'm excited too. Apparently not even the Vulcans got this far.

Re:Excited (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101191)

Also, they need to come up with some kind of lab grown Dorito-esq chip that’s actually healthy for you and doesn’t taste like crap.

Beef Jerky. Reasonably low fat and low carb and mostly paleo diet. "Cow Chip" might actually sell as an extreme marketing term.

Also if you have some "health food" type store nearby there are veggie chips that taste fantastic kind of like a potato chip already dunked in salsa. That would probably count.

Finally I've gotten addicted to these freeze dried apple chips.

Grind up a multi-vitamin and dust it onto the chips and you're pretty much all good.

Re:Excited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101379)

Where I'm from, cow chips mean something very different.

Re:Excited (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101491)

Where I'm from, cow chips mean something very different.

Yes exactly, which is why I suggested it as an extreme marketing term. You can sell an extreme bag of spicy cow chips in a commercial during a professional wrestling TV show, in between the "vocational video game classes" ads and energy drink ads. A bag of "extreme cow chips" is not gonna sell if advertised on dancing with the stars.

Re:Excited (2)

hirundo (221676) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101419)

Beef Jerky. Reasonably low fat and low carb and mostly paleo diet. "Cow Chip" might actually sell as an extreme marketing term.

I once made a meatloaf in a Pyrex pie plate. When I served it I discovered why meatloaf is traditionally formed into a rectangle, when my son said "Mmm, cow pie!"

Re:Excited (4, Interesting)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101223)

The real question I have is how are they going to reproduce everything that's in the meat. I mean, the core stuff, fine. But there are a myriad of different stuff in meat, including bacteria of all kinds, microbes, all types of things. Sometimes we get ill because of it, but for the most part we ingest it just fine.

What will happen when nothing of that sort goes into our body anymore? Will we take "dirt pills"? I know people have been making Tannin pills to prevent from having to drink wine ...

This will be a sad day IMO.

Re:Excited (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101383)

I think it would be a complete lie to say this stuff won't have an impact on human health. This stuff is not going to be identical to real meat, probably not even close, and our bodies are going to react differently to it.

Whether the effect is going to be good, bad, or mostly irrelevant is what will matter. I imagine it'll probably mostly be the last one. Our bodies will adjust to the new stuff.. probably some minor changes.. but in general I don't think it's gonna be major.

I (along with many others I'm sure) have spent a small period of my life living mostly on ramen noodles, with (apparently) no serious effects. This is probably something nature never indended for us (most natural ingredient in ramen noodles is likely the packaging). I don't think we are as fragile as we think.

Re:Excited (1, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101393)

But there are a myriad of different stuff in meat, including bacteria of all kinds, microbes, all types of things.

Absolutely true at McDonalds, or taco bell. Ideally, however, the interior of raw meat is pretty darn near sterile.

Think about it, the interior of your bicep right now is either sterile, or red, inflamed, and in intense pain, correct? The interior of meat is actually much more sterile than the interior of vegetable matter, which is kind of interesting, especially organic vegetables which were bathed in fecal matter as a fertilizer.

Now the exterior of factory slaughtered meat is in fact generally filthy beyond all comprehension, ditto ground meat products, but I don' t think anyone has found a digestive or culinary advantage to intentionally smearing a layer of e coli fecal bacteria on their steak.

Re:Excited (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101507)

I know people have been making Tannin pills to prevent from having to drink wine ...

No one has to drink wine, some people choose to take dietary supplements because they think it will make them healthier. As for meat being replaced by "meat" - there will be no surprises due to loss of nutrients, there have been perfectly healthy vegetarians for millenia. There will, however, certainly be people making "meat nutrient replacement pills" for the same crowd who buys the Tannin pills. Some people and their money are easily parted.

Meat is cooked (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101531)

The purpose of cooking, in addition of making the food more palatable and more digestible, is also to sterilise it.
So you won't find much bacteria on your burger once it leave the grill (or the over).

Also, this is not only a mix of proteins, this is real muscle tissues obtained by growing muscle out of stem cells, exactly as in real life. The only thing which it might lack is blood (as in the body, it's produced elsewhere), but even that could be fixed (stem cells or bone marrow cells grown in a bone-marrow-like environment to produce blood).

Can I get a cut of veal instead? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101035)

Made from embryonic stem cells rather than adult, of course.

Soylent Green! (2)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101371)

Kinds of surprised no one has posted that. But then, I bet the vast majority of you people weren't even alive what that came out.

Mix it up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101037)

I want to get my horse-cow burger soon.

Re:Mix it up! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101131)

If you live in America, you don't need GM foods for that...although you may have to mix it yourself. [technorati.com]

Re:Mix it up! (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101283)

Actually, I was really surprised by that news. Not the fact that the law was changed, but the fact that it existed in the first place. And the "oh won't somebody think of the horses"-response. Here horses are used for some meat products. Mind you though, I don't think they're bred for it, like cows and especially pigs, but at some point they get old and, well, you get the drift. And why not? It's really tasty, I find some horse steaks to be far better than beef. And horse salami rocks.

Re:Mix it up! (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101345)

What do horse salami rocks taste like? Are they hard? Do they melt in your mouth, or do you need to nibble at them?

Re:Mix it up! (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101429)

I find some horse steaks to be far better than beef.

I was almost believing you until that point. The more you work a muscle, and the older it gets, the stringier and tougher it becomes. I bet horse would make an awesome slow cooked bbq, but as a steak it would make "cube steaks" (which I personally find inedible) seem like tenderloin. Keep this in mind for the post-zombie apocalypse cannibalism era, old muscular ex-military weightlifter dude like me is almost the definition of not good eats.

Re:Mix it up! (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101565)

Sorry, I think that a bit got lost in the translation. I don't mean the about-inch-thick pieces fried quickly for each side, but you know stick a big piece of meat in an oven for many hours (or a barbeque, if you will) at low heat.

Using this technique (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101059)

Japanese can eat whale meat all they want without giving Greenpeace fits... and Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese can eat dog meat without offending PETA, Jews/Muslims can eat pork without offending their clergy... what's not to love?

Re:Using this technique (1)

willaien (2494962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101093)

I doubt that the pork restriction would be lifted for artificial pork.

It's still, biologically, pork. While a silly rule, that's how they believe, and that it is artificial won't change it.

Re:Using this technique (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101207)

Correct. One is still using cells of a pig to create pig meat. Just because it's not extracted from an entire pig does it mean it's no longer classified as pig flesh.

Re:Using this technique (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101261)

Correct. One is still using cells of a pig to create pig meat. Just because it's not extracted from an entire pig does it mean it's no longer classified as pig flesh.

Until you genetically engineer it sufficiently far away. Imagine an aquaculture catfish that is literally fileted into something indistinguishable from pig bacon but is technically born of a fish. Or a tuna that tastes just like the finest beef tenderloin.

For that matter, I'd settle for a soybean that when processed tastes and cooks more like real meat instead of weird fake soy-meat.

Re:Using this technique (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101511)

So you mean they'd just make a mutated catfish, tuna or soybean?

Re:Using this technique (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101579)

So you mean they'd just make a mutated catfish, tuna or soybean?

I was thinking more along the lines of taking "carnivorous" pig cells and letting them process the raw material into delicious bacon.

Much like when you drink beer, you tell yourself you're drinking processed barley, not yeast. Pickles, you're eating processed cucumbers, not acetobacteria.

In a similar line of thought, you're not eating sliced up catfish, you're eating catfish that was processed into bacon-like filets or whatever by being dunked for a few hours into baconic cells.

I suppose if the fish itself could be modified to taste like bacon then you could skip the processing step.

Essentially we've had alcohol fermentation cells and acetic acid pickling cells in our cooking bag of tricks for centuries, and I'm hoping for a new line of cells that turns anything vaguely meaty into bacon. Baconic cells, to go with our existing zoos of acetobacteria and yeasts.

Re:Using this technique (2)

XanC (644172) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101209)

Well, maybe. Isn't the prohibition against eating animals with cloven hoofs? Or something like that? This would never have had hooves.

Re:Using this technique (1)

willaien (2494962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101253)

It's still the same species, though. Not saying that you couldn't talk yourself into it using 'logic', like anything pertaining to religion.

Re:Using this technique (2, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101145)

I don't know why but this concept gives me the creeps because we don't really understand all there is to know about genetics. By creating meat in a lab, there is no way to be sure that it is exactly the same as nature intended it to be. In fact, our bodies may very well process it differently or it could be very detrimental to our health. It is better to use actual animals but figure out a way to make it more environmentally sound. For example, by harvesting the methane gas produced by cows, we are left with a rather abundant energy source. I am usually always skeptical of "simple" solutions because humanity is always looking for the magic pill for panacea and it just never happens. It is possible to be smart and economical about cattle farming while treating these animals humanely.

Re:Using this technique (1)

Zaph0dB (971927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101169)

"nature intended" - really? in this forum? Good luck avoiding the hailstorm.

Re:Using this technique (1)

genkernel (1761338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101365)

"nature intended" - really? in this forum?
Good luck avoiding the hailstorm.

Actually, it makes more sense than some might initially think. I'm sure most of us here have heard of the terrible situation with "inactive ingredients", substitutes for salt and sugar, and bovine growth hormone [wikipedia.org]. Honestly, some of this stuff just isn't safe. Who here really thinks the FDA will fail to approve lab-grown meat if properly funded? There is a great deal that could go wrong with this stuff. The best way to understand the health effects of lab-grown meat would be to run an appropriately lengthy study on human consumption and health, and a spectroscopic analysis. Unfortunately, there is very little chance such a thing will be done, so there really is no way to be sure that it is exactly the same as "nature" intended it to be.

Re:Using this technique (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101443)

Why would there be a hailstorm? The way "nature intended" things to be can be interpreted just as easily as referring to the path through which evolution has taken nature, since evolution is by and large an automatic process.

It's sad that people are so religiously anti-religion that you even said that, that it's even possible to interpret the words "as nature intended" as a claim of a deity's existence.

Re:Using this technique (3, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101239)

I say make it an option and let people decide.

Personally, I'm all for it, but I recognize there is always a risk when something is untested. The same can be said for any drug. You can't tell what the effects will be in 30 years until, well, people have been using it for 30 years. You can make soem very good guesses (which is what will happen with the synthetic meat) but you won't really _know_ until a generation actually lives off it.

There's gonna be people who won't trust this stuff (and probably never will), and that's fine.

Re:Using this technique (2)

Artraze (600366) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101397)

Or perhaps even more to the point, is that meat (and all food) is part of a living thing and contains the nutrients needed to keep that thing alive, which in turn keep us alive when we eat it. When you grow it in the lab, you're simplifying the whole complex metabolism of a living thing into some process fluid that grows some cells in the lab, and the contents food becomes little more than bulked up proteins. How much B12 does it have? How much iron? Omega3s?

The trouble with synthetic meat, as I see it, is that it will only ever be a taste/texture and never a particularly worthwhile food-stuff. After all, it's synthetic and by definition built on a set of ingredients. At the end of the day you might as well save yourself the money and take those ingredients as a multivitamin and eat some fried tofu.

Re:Using this technique (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101455)

take those ingredients as a multivitamin and eat some fried tofu.

Except you can't have a medium rare tofu steak.

Personally I eat as a pleasurable activity. The fact that it's necessary to sustain me is secondary. If they could come up with a food substitute that was purely for sensation / making you feel full, and we all just took pills to actually get nutritional content.. I'd be all for it.

Re:Using this technique (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101263)

Kosher mammals must a) chew their cud and b) have cloven hooves. If you consider test-tube meat to be mammal, you could argue that no test-tube meat is kosher.

Re:Using this technique (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101473)

While many Jews are, sub rosa, totally into ham/bacon/etc., a lot of Muslims avoid it for cultural rather than religious reasons. I've known lots of (nominally) Muslims who drank alcohol, but very few who ate pork - the Pakistanis I've known in particular regard pork the way Americans view eating cat or dog.

Long Term Study Proposal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101095)

I propose that the inventor of these products be force fed them for 20 years. This will, naturally (yes, sarcasm intended), dispell any doubts about their safety.

Or... Just Eat Less Meat (3, Informative)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101117)

In the West we could all do with eating a bit further down the food chain really - Red meat is known to linked to bowel cancers.

Mind you, I'm Scottish, so can't really preach about good diet really :)

Re:Or... Just Eat Less Meat (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101167)

You guys have haggis. What kind of cancer does eating bowels give you?

Re:Or... Just Eat Less Meat (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101233)

What do you think goes into any other kind of sausage? Or burgers for that matter?

Hint - it's not prime steak, that's for sure...

Re:Or... Just Eat Less Meat (2)

schitso (2541028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101211)

Care to link to a study that:
1. Doesn't conflate red meat and processed meats
2. Doesn't use cooking methods that char the hell out of the meat, generating HCAs?

I'm all for eating well, but I remain skeptical that healthy animals produce unhealthful meat.

Re:Or... Just Eat Less Meat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101425)

It's all about volume and bacteria, and the lack of other fibre. This has been done to death in both Nature and Science magazine. There's also a ton of reports on pubmed and webmd. Perhaps you need to improve your reading material?

Re:Or... Just Eat Less Meat (1)

schitso (2541028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101499)

None of that was at all helpful. How does fiber even matter when meat doesn't even make it to your large intestine?
And yes, there are tons of reports that make the errors I stated.
I even forgot to throw in the condition of the meat being raised naturally--free of antibiotic and hormone cocktails most animals are raised on today.

Re:Or... Just Eat Less Meat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101401)

In the West we could all do with eating a bit further down the food chain really - Red meat is known to linked to bowel cancers.

Mind you, I'm Scottish, so can't really preach about good diet really :)

And the incidence of colon/rectal cancers from red meat just happens to coincide with the rise of antibiotics and hormones used in cattle to produce bigger animals and to pre-treat diseases. It has nothing to do with the red meat itself, it has to do with what is allowed to happen to the meat before it gets to your dinner table. In that sense, you have to blame your government for allowing it and then blame them when you come down with cancer.

People ate meat for a VERY long time prior to civilization and didn't have NEARLY the amount of cancers we have. It's all in what is being put into it BEFORE it gets consumed.

People burgers (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101151)

What are the ethical problems of starting with human stem cells instead of pork or beef?

Maybe we could also do radioactive spider burgers, to activate our spidey senses?

Growing meat... (3, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101177)

... at industrial scale that is both cost effective and as good/or better then the real thing remains to be seen.

Re:Growing meat... (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101459)

Growing in-vitro meat is essentially the same business as manufacturing advanced bio-pharmaceuticals -- you have the same issues of running a bioreactor with strict sterility requirements, complex growing media, and other expensive criteria.

Even if technological developments were able to drive the cost of doing mammalian cell culture to a fraction of its current price, you would still be an absolute fool to use your capacity to produce a low-priced commodity, compared with the high-margin drug products that you could instead be making.

Just a thought (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101187)

Perhaps if part of training the muscle involved teaching it to hump its way up onto a bun, then pull a slice of tomato and some lettuce over itself as a kind of blanket...

I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today (2)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101193)

I'll gladly give you fiat currency Tuesday for a fake-meat burger today.

Re:I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger tod (1)

emagery (914122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101319)

Assuming this technology pans out, why would you call it fake? Just like a lab-grown emerald, it is chemically identical to the natural source without all the damage to the landscape, infection(inclusion) exposure, or unnecessary cost. (sure it costs a lot now, it's an experiment. In a couple decades time, it'll clock in at a ten, maybe a hundredth of the cost of 'real-but-otherwise-inferior' meat off the killed organism.)

Adult stem cells (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101201)

It might have been best to clarify what species of adult the stem cells are harvested from, since in most news stories, "adult stem cells" typically has a connotation of adult human stem cells!

Re:Adult stem cells (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101305)

"Soylent Green" burgers, anyone?

meet the meat, hufu, Mrs 'Awkins, et al (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101527)

To be completely ethically correct, you need a source species able to give informed consent.
At this point, we only know of one example, and only in some extraordinarily self-aware examples.

GMO??? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101215)

So, right now we don't know if we are eating real food or GMO food, as it is not mandatory to have it written on the product. And my question is, are we going to be "informed" the same way about the fake meat??? What is next, fake politicians? Oh.....wait, they already fake...

Glad (1, Interesting)

emagery (914122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101285)

This is good progressive news; global demand for meat far outstrips the resources, which pushes producers not only to destroy wilderness to attempt to supply, but convert to factory farming, abject cruelty, increase contamination likelihood, et cetera. If you want meat in your future, and have no plans to breed a little bit less for a few generations to give the poor planet a break from the burden of trying to supply for our desires, then this is basically your only course of action. Frankly, I'd feel better eating a hunk of muscle cells that never to experience pain or required the flattening of the amazon or the draining of giant aquifers to provide.

Re:Glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101543)

You enjoy your lab produced meat that will most likely end up causing cancer and God knows what else....I'll stick to real, unf*cked with cow. On the plus side your burger will be able to glow in the dark...

Well, they are getting better! (1)

DadLeopard (1290796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101299)

Well, they are getting better! The Japanese version makes Soylent Green look appetizing by comparison! Talk about a literal shit sandwich!!

Better off Ted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101307)

They've done this in Better Off Ted.
I hope the company will take other ideas from it, that could be very interesting :)

Obligatory geek reference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101355)

It's a single cell protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything the body needs.

Kudos to the first who can identify the source.

10-20 years isn't exactly "coming soon" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101359)

Thanks Slashdot, for continuing your slide into sensationalist & misleading summaries.

Oh oh: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101373)

"it has to be 'bulked up' by exposing to electric shocks"

I don't care if it is in a test tube, PETA's gonna go apeshit over this.

$250K (3, Funny)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101381)

They could sell the shit out of these $250K burgers they were called iBurgers and were sold by Apple.

Not in my buns! (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101417)

On a continent that goes apeshit [bbc.co.uk] over Genetically Modified and other Bioengineered Crops, it seems unlikely this will gain any traction in the commercial market place, at least not in the EU [wikipedia.org]. On the other hand, the EU may take the stance that since this work was pioneered in the EU, it can't possibly be bad.

Now on Mars, or long space voyages this might have some appeal, especially Mars, where there is a possibility of finding water, thereby eliminating one of the heaviest component of any food product. Although unless making and transporting the necessary equipment and media takes up less room and less weight than a freezer full of hamburger this seems unlikely there as well. Chances are the growth media can be shipped dry as well, and reconstituted with distilled water from any source.

Even if the cost per pound could be brought in line with animal sources, it seems unlikely to be a rational method of food production here on earth, simply because significant portions of the meat supply would be put at risk by a simple power failure, or contaminant in the growth media.

The rest of this story will no doubt be filled with hand wringing posts over the amount of CO2 that cattle produce (something never attributed to Wildebeest herds), and how this will save the earth. The whole concept creates an intellectual conundrum for the Peta crowd. They would love to get animals off the farm, and this method presents a way forward, but having to embrace those huge corporations, and bio-engineering is probably more than they could stomach.

Phil and Lem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101477)

Tried to grow cow-less beef in Episode 2 of Better off Ted. Doing the same thing!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Better_Off_Ted_episodes#Season_1:_2009
"Heroes" Michael Fresco Victor Fresco March 25, 2009 1APX01
Ted and Veronica fake an award for Phil so he won't sue the company after getting frozen. Phil and Lem try to grow cowless beef.

Blobbi tastes like "despair". (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101515)

Reminds me of the Better Off Ted [wikipedia.org] episode "Heroes", where Veridian Dynamics is working on lab-grown beef:

  • Phil: Blobby, like Bobby, only with an l
  • Lem: Don't name it or you won't want to eat it. Remember Chester the carrot?
  • Phil: Yeah, I miss him

When the company food taster is asked for his opinion on the beef, he stares off sadly and says, "it tastes like despair".

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