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In Vitro Grown Meat 'Nearly Possible'

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-don't-eat-greens,-food-eats-greens dept.

Biotech 260

Bruce66423 writes "An article at The Guardian discusses the prospects for food from radically different sources than the ones we're used to. 'Sweet fried crickets' anyone? Quoting: '... artificial steak is still a way off. Pizza toppings are closer. The star of the Dutch research into in-vitro meat, Dr Mark Post, promised that the first artificial hamburger, made from 10bn lab-grown cells, would be ready for "flame-grilling by Heston Blumenthal" by the end of 2012. At the time of writing it is still on the back burner. Post (who previously produced valves for heart surgery) and other Dutch scientists are currently working over the problem of how to turn the "meat" from pieces of jelly into something acceptably structured: an old-fashioned muscle. Electric shocks may be the answer. ... The technological problems of producing the new hi-tech foods are nothing compared to the trouble the industry is having with the consumers – the "yuck factor," as the food technology scientists across the world like to put it. Shoppers' squeamishness has turned the food corporations, from whom the real money for R&D will have to come, very wary, and super-secretive about their work on GM in America.'"

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A matter of perspective... (5, Insightful)

nine932038 (1934132) | about 2 years ago | (#42494129)

After encountering the notion in the Vorkosigan series and thinking about it a bit, the notion of lab-grown meat doesn't seem like a big deal. It's arguably more sanitary than an animal that's been standing in filth for its entire life, after all.

Re:A matter of perspective... (2, Insightful)

dwywit (1109409) | about 2 years ago | (#42494191)

You might be right - but it's your choice whether to eat that sort of meat, or not. I'm prepared to pay more - sometimes a lot more - for free-range meat. Doesn't have to be "organic", just not raised or fattened in pens or feedlots or cages.

Re:A matter of perspective... (-1, Troll)

painehope (580569) | about 2 years ago | (#42494567)

Agreed. And I refuse to eat at Burger King because I've seen how that "fresh, char-broiled patty" or whatever started it's life. No thanks...when I'm poor I don't have the money for meat, when I'm flush I eat the good stuff.

Of course, while we're on the topic of alternative sources of meat, let's think again about A Modest Proposal [art-bin.com] . Except I'm not suggesting we eat the Irish - I'm part-Irish, we eat potatoes, plus we're more likely to kill you than vice-versa. But think about all those infants put up for adoption, or abused by being forced to walk around shopping malls behind 500+ lb. welfare mothers in mu-mus who somehow miraculously manage to drive Cadillac Escalades and clothe those children in brand-name sports clothing that costs hundred of dollars. Think of all the waste there, and of the health of the mothers. They could probably walk faster, get some exercise, perhaps even get out of the rat-race lifestyle of collecting welfare and having eight baby-daddies that they stash illegal narcotics for (when said daddies' aren't in prison) that forces them to buy Escalades and two-hundred dollar Nikes. Their lives would be improved, and they would no longer need to fear pregnancy when sleeping with the guy around who has the most gold chains. Or we could expedite matters and use that 500 pounds of previously useless meat as fit.

And imagine the change in lifestyle for the American people. No more farm subsidies, and the insurance companies could make a killing off a child's birth. The entire food industry would be revolutionized, except for possibly Church's, where "White meat or dark?" brings an added charge for White meat. Maybe it would change to "White meat or Darkie?", but that's about it. And consider the amount of time spent hunting whales or manufacturing synthetic oils. No more - use the body's natural fats.

So consider it my friends - we might be able to fix the economy right there. If not, too bad the president is so skinny. However, his wife, her friends, and most of Congress could all stand to lose some weight. Maybe all of it, eh?

In all seriousness, we should take all the long-term welfare recipients and their children, politicians (Democrats especially), illegal aliens, and MBA-touting middle management fuckers and their fat wives and kids, turn them loose in the woods, and sell passes good for N number of kills to hunter's clubs. It's the ultimate solution for the people who put us in this mess anyway (throw in the Bush family as well...they're already pickled anyways, and wouldn't feel or fear a thing with all the cocaine). And since most people who are hunters are working or middle class, it would be a very appropriate turn-around.

But this grown meat thing sounds promising once we run out of useless fat people. Lookout, Rosanne! Can't buy or lie your way our of this one. Ahem. As I was saying, this grown meat bit sounds quite good once we've exhausted the means at hand. After all, what we would eat? Animals? What did they ever do to us?

Re:A matter of perspective... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494623)

How do extra apostrophes start their life? Can you eat those when you're poor? You'd never go hungry!

Re:A matter of perspective... (-1, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42494663)

White people are an illness.

Racial purity is the genetic analogue of incest.

Cultural isolation is the rejection of additional information.

The world is not "Will and Idea" - unless you love the delusional.

Speaking as a vegan (5, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42494257)

I don't get the yuck factor.

To me a slaughtered animals is about as yucky as it can be. Even more so when combined with the slaughter house And even more so if you consider some things like the floors and skinn processing.

There's also the hanging of the meat and for instance things like hams which have hanged around to develop flavour or whatever for three (?) years and such. I guess they keep the flies out but it looks very old and "half-rotten" with black spots and ugly surface.

Imho something fresh rather than an old body stored long after death seem fresher and less discusting. Scavaging isn't my idea of fresh and little yuckiness.

Something grown in a clean environment (though of course the bodies of the animals are likely good at keeping themself clean except for some parasites and such) imho seem less yucky and if you've got some compassion for others that's even better.

What I personally wonder is if it's still grown in bouillon made of animals because then the difference isn't all to big. You still need to kill animals and use them in the process. But then again they likely could use some scraps to make that one to get better effectiveness.

For me personally there may still be some mental issue due to what it is even if no animal had to die and the cells wasn't grown on an animal based diet/medium. That may not make much sense though, and having a protein based staple for your diet would be very convenient.

Re:Speaking as a vegan (1, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42494409)

Oh I forgot this part.

I read http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3361051&cid=42494273 [slashdot.org] and remembered I forgot one thing. The alternative to that "not very fresh but rather scavanging style meat": The very fresh meat.

As in those videos on YouTube there you for instance have a turtle in a fishing uhm, dish-layout-selling board (I don't know the english word) where he or she has had the top part of his shell sawed of and with the internal of his body showing but he may still eventually be alive considering what his head is doing (I don't know for sure / remember.)

Or those fishes which is very fast prepared (I don't remember how) and possibly prepared in a pan but still moves on your plate.

There was also some squid which moved when served but it had lemon juice or whatever on it and I think it was said to be due to electrical impulses but still dead and I assume the fishes which still move their gills may be dead but still have that reacting (though I find it somewhat weird and I'm not sure / convinced? Would they really flap their gills in an ordinary fashing if they was dead? Not just open them up or close them once and hold that position?)

Anyway whatever still alive but in a very damaged and suffering state or recently killed but still moving I find those kind of styles and cooking disgusting. I do get it's supposed to show off the freshness but if there's any chance the animal is suffering it totally suck.

All these are from Asian cuisine and all of it is sea life something which is disgusting regardless of what it is due to the extreme over fishing and the countries with massive population but too little land to feed them all likely will ignore any regulation and ideas to keep the fishing industry alive long-term and the oceans healthy and alive to feed their population short term. It's horrible how the sea life is threated.

Look at these shark fin pictures and say you think that's right and better than factory grown meat:
http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/blog/50552/alarming+sight+thousands+of+shark+fins+drying+on+hong+kong+rooftop/ [grindtv.com]

But I guess the idiots who want to eat flapping fishes or their eyes or horns of whatever creature are going to switch the something cruelty free because their minds are so stuck with what they eat and the benefit of it.

Look at this photo:
http://static.grindtv.com/images/1/00/41/05/97/410597.jpg [grindtv.com]

Totally disgusting, such a waste and total lack of compassion.

Re:Speaking as a vegan (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42494465)

These snakes / eels (eating the regular eels we have here in Europe which mate closer to your mexican gulf or whatever also is horrible) must be dead since there heads have been shopped of, but the dish (time 00:20) is rather interesting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56-bR9ZNBzY [youtube.com]

But how is the fish at 00:57 doing? This is what I mean.

So you cut it a little on the sides and put it in oil for a few seconds but don't cook the head or decapitate it so it seem to still be conscious and alive (01:26) in that part once on the dish?

How very compassionate of you.

I don't know how this Alligator is doing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aRi9_Ppepo [youtube.com]
I know it has been questioned whatever humans which got their head chopped of in some way could still be in consciousness for some time. Rather harsh to mess with the dying (or living), fuck all these disgusting people.

I guess this turtle can't be alive?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3x8pzS1nDk [youtube.com]
(Or have they only removed things which it could survive without?)

Regardless I find keeping things like turtles alive in a plastic container until they are sold or you want to preper them for food rather cruel to. I don't like to watch animals spending their time like that and know what's coming for them.

But that's just me.

Re:Speaking as a vegan (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42494887)

You may benefit from watching some nature videos. I think waiting for your dinner to be actually dead and unresponsive to stimuli is a rarity. As soon as the predator can bite a piece off, he's chowing down. Sometime during dinner, the prey actually dies. In the case of snakes, I'm not sure that the prey dies before it reaches the stomach. I found a king snake ingesting a copperhead several years ago. Because I was there, the king reversed the ingestion, the copper head lay there for a few seconds, then started slithering away. I crushed the copperhead's head, apologized to the king, and left.

Needlessly causing an animal to suffer is stupid and pointless, so some of your examples irritate me, but they don't irritate me as much as they bother you.

I can't speak for your ancestors, but mine were all omnivores. We all eat anything that moves unless it moves to fast for us to catch. To solve that, we invented snares, bows and arrows, and finally guns. Somewhere in between we invented fences and barns. We evolved to eat meat, vegetables, and anything else that didn't poison us.

Homegrown meat-like stuff from a culture? I don't think that's on our menu, because we've never encountered it in the wild, or on a farm. Before I try it, it had better be a damned convincing copy. I'll wait until a few generations of PETA fans have subsisted on the stuff, before I try it. Maybe around the year 2250, I'll be convinced! Oh - wait. I don't think my life expectancy is anywhere near 300 years . . . crap!

Re:Speaking as a vegan (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42494715)

To me a slaughtered animals is about as yucky as it can be.

Did you know there are no indigenous vegetarians? There may have been some, but they were probably eaten. Your distaste for what is one of the most natural processes on the world (before blood existed, there were predators and prey) would make you unfit to survive in the wild.

or me personally there may still be some mental issue due to what it is even if no animal had to die and the cells wasn't grown on an animal based diet/medium. That may not make much sense though,

You're hardly the only person I know who is grossed out by meat. To me, though, that's not just a mental issue, it's mental illness. We are omnivores. Actual predators often don't even wait until an animal stops moving before they eat it. They have no sense of nicety.

You've convinced yourself of something arbitrary and false.

The simple truth is that an animal has an immune system and a vat of meat doesn't, so from any logical standpoint, it's the vat-grown meat that's "yucky". Animals are self-cleaning and self-repairing. With that said, CAFOs are the devil's work.

Re:Speaking as a vegan (0)

cyberdime (2750427) | about 2 years ago | (#42494791)

You're hardly the only person I know who is grossed out by meat. To me, though, that's not just a mental issue, it's mental illness. We are omnivores.

If a person grossed out by meat suffers from mental illness, then so are people grossed out by genocide. If we simply follow our genetic instincts, then keeping ourselves or at most our tribe alive is our prime directive, and we should kill, butcher, or massacre everything or anyone that helps us achieve that goal.

Re:Speaking as a vegan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494897)

Did you know there are no indigenous vegetarians?

What does this statement even mean? There's plenty of vegetarians who live where they were born, and plenty who were raised vegetarian for birth.

Re:Speaking as a vegan (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42494907)

"Did you know there are no indigenous vegetarians? There may have been some, but they were probably eaten."

ROFLMAO

I have it on good authority that some omnivores eat other omnivores, too. I hear that long pig tastes just like pork! Way off topic, but I served with a guy whose grandfathers were headhunters. We asked him once if he ever ate another person. He said, "I don't know, I just ate whatever my mother gave me!"

It's unlikely that he did. In theory, at least, the last of the tribes in the Phillipines were "civilized" before he was born. But - stuff happens!

Re:Speaking as a vegan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494793)

How about this for yucky?
Meat produced from human excrement, the shitburger [youtube.com] .

Re:Speaking as a vegan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494823)

you're a bit too young and insulated from the world as such. you'll grow up and have a family and learn about healthy eating and so on and you'll change. happens to nearly everyone except for the stupidest folk around.

Re:A matter of perspective... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494881)

Besides, with oil getting more and more expensive, we'll have to eat less meat, especially red meat, anyway since most of the agricultural land is currently used to grow food to feed animals.

Re:A matter of perspective... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494991)

One huge difference;

Animals have an immune system. Cultured cells do not.

you know what they should call it... (5, Funny)

swampfriend (2629073) | about 2 years ago | (#42494133)

cownterfeit.

Re:you know what they should call it... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494293)

Godda...Fu...*sigh*

There is a hatred I cannot convey, while simultaneously congratulating.

Re:you know what they should call it... (2)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 2 years ago | (#42494895)

or: conned beef

Processed beyond recognition (5, Insightful)

Beetjebrak (545819) | about 2 years ago | (#42494143)

I don't understand the yuck-factor. Go buy a McChicken at the big yellow M. There's nothing recognizably chicken-ish about that product at all. The taste and texture is completely different from the chicken I tasted as a kid, when my grandfather would routinely kill and prepare his own chickens for dinner. I can tell you from personal experience that the yuck-factor in actually killing a chicken with a blade is much higher than that of an electricallly stimulated nuggy grown inside a petri dish.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494173)

want real chicken at "the big yellow M"? try spending more than $1.00 you fucking cheapskate.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 2 years ago | (#42494307)

I think the point was that McChicken is not all that much like real chicken and still lots of people eat it. It doesn't really matter if lab-grown meat won't replace what is served at Christmas dinner; if it can replace processed meat that's already a huge success.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42494273)

I don't understand the yuck-factor.

Me neither. I would actually be delighted to eat lab-grown meat, with no bacteria on it, no steroids, no antibiotics, with a consistent quality and so on. I'm just hoping for some real breakthrough in the area so that such meat will become easy and cheap to produce so that it can be properly brought into mass-market. I assume that lab-grown meat will also mean less by-products and environmental waste than the regular method, but alas, I'm not an expert in either area.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 2 years ago | (#42494313)

I assume that lab-grown meat will also mean less by-products and environmental waste than the regular method, but alas, I'm not an expert in either area.

I'm not an expert either, but I'd expect at least methane emissions to be a lot lower since lab-grown meat doesn't have a digestive system.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#42494509)

Lab-grown meat will require the energy and materials for nutrient baths, environmental controls, safety systems and the construction of expensive laboratory equipment versus sunlight and a ramshackle wooden fence and barn. I wouldn't expect the cownterfeit meat to be "environmentally cheaper" until the industry is well-developed, if ever.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 years ago | (#42494759)

As far as AGW is concerned, methane is a strong greenhouse gas, but its half-life is short, so it isn't such a big problem.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#42494397)

I do mind. The important factors are taste and structure. Both are from how the animal has lived. If the animal walked around free, the meat will be less tender as the muscles have done more work. (meat is muscle)
Because there was more training, the muscles are not only a bit harder, they also had more blood going through them. This means more taste.

And that is why steak is still way off. Pizza toppings are proceeded foods that have little to do with meat, except its origin.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42494405)

I do mind. The important factors are taste and structure. Both are from how the animal has lived. If the animal walked around free, the meat will be less tender as the muscles have done more work. (meat is muscle)

Yes, and? You're assuming that it won't be possible to manufacture such meat in a lab, yet TFA actually *does* talk about exactly this. It's only a matter of time. Sooner or later there will be such meat.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494487)

Errrr, there's a huge assumption in there that's unlikely to be fulfilled in real life. The current lab grown meat is in a research phase, and is therefore subject to clean room lab conditions where dollars/kilo are not a concern. You're assuming that the clean room conditions will extend to the mass market exploitation of the product: your assumption is that there will be no additives (really, really unlikely as yields are likely to be the biggest factor, and hence any yield enhancing agent you can imagine will be acceptable), and no waste (as is usual with breakthroughs such as this, I suppose the polution creation will be moved to somewhere else in the production chain, rather than removed).

You know, you could grow perfectly healthly, perfectly clean, healthy animals with a 24x7 medical care and monitoring, a personal trainer and hospital level cleaning. We don't because at the end of the day it's the price that counts, not the quality. We're generally so far away from the production that we can no longer judge the quality at all, only the price.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (4, Funny)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#42494521)

You know, you could grow perfectly healthly, perfectly clean, healthy animals with a 24x7 medical care and monitoring, a personal trainer and hospital level cleaning. We don't because at the end of the day it's the price that counts, not the quality.

You mean bonsai kittens?

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#42494399)

Did you think there was Chicken in a McChicken. How cute.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

Beetjebrak (545819) | about 2 years ago | (#42494479)

You just proved my point. Somehow there's a yuck-factor involved when actual meat is grown in a lab, but it's apparently not there when consumers see processed soy proteins, salt and artificial flavoring pressed together into a cheap "chicken" burger. I'd call that a double standard. If actual real chicken breast can be grown in a lab without animals suffering, I'll have that over any of the mystery meat today's fast-food chains sell.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#42494607)

I don't understand the yuck-factor.

"Hunger never saw bad bread." -- Benjamin Franklin

Yucky food is the inspiration for fine home cookin'. Slaves in the US were given the throw-away parts of animals that their masters did not want to eat. So the slaves developed recipes with spices to make the yucky food very tasty. The same thing could happen with this meat.

If you are really hungry, you will eat whatever you can. If it tastes good, you will eat it, even though you think it is yucky.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42494695)

I don't understand the yuck-factor.

Here's mine. When a chicken goes wrong the problem is usually apparent, the chicken may even die before you kill it and be thrown away. But when you're growing it in a vat you're going to have to rely on testing. A problem in the middle of a batch might not get caught.

Nature has protective mechanisms. They evolved, they weren't designed in, but that makes them no less valid.

Re:Processed beyond recognition (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#42494913)

the chicken may even die before you kill it and be thrown away

And often times the dead chickens are included in the pile of live chicken in the mass processing.

The Japanese eat anything.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494155)

The Japanese really do eat just about everything. Live, dead, cooked, raw, they'll eat it. Even rice ground into powder and reconstituted into a rubbery paste (mochi).

Start there: get the Asians to like it, and it'll be good given their population density, and the (presumed) cheapness relative to actually eating a grown animal. That'll get to the point of break even and beyond, and by that time they can work on getting the meat to Muscle form (as opposed to Mechanically Separated Meat form) for the non-Asians.

Re:The Japanese eat anything.. (5, Interesting)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42494473)

Wrong. You stereotype a whole country. Japanese eat things that they have been eating for decades or centuries, a lot of that may look strange to Westerners. Recently, Japanese have been eating a lot of western food. Den Fujita [wikipedia.org] opened the 1st Mac Donalds in Japan in 1971. Because it was tasting better? Because "Fujita was amazed by its efficiency and popularity [in the US]" - read "a better way to make money". To sell his hamburgers, he said to the Japanese

The reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years... If we eat McDonald's hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white, and our hair blonde

Due to the heavy impact of the press and TV on the Japanese, this helped a lot. Price as a reason? For your information, for the price of a cheeseburger you get here in Japan a very decent and cooked traditional Japanese meal (Ootoya [wikipedia.org] TBT, Yoshinoya [wikipedia.org] ...). Back to the story, Japanese will not eat "anything", unless TV endorses it. If TV comes to that and you want to compare this "new meat" to something: compare it to the western hamburgers - and certainly not to the traditional Japanese food that has been eaten in Japan for a very long time.

Re:The Japanese eat anything.. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42494863)

Japan also has the tastiest and most expensive cattle on the planet.

Re:The Japanese eat anything.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494493)

MOD DOWN for stereotyping Asians and being ignorant.

Re:The Japanese eat anything.. (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#42494621)

The Japanese really do eat just about everything. Live, dead, cooked, raw, they'll eat it. Even rice ground into powder and reconstituted into a rubbery paste (mochi).

Sounds better than the crap "we" eat: the waste meat parts ground into a rubbery paste (mechanically recovered meat).

Re:The Japanese eat anything.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494719)

I don't think you understand what mechanically recovered meat is...

Re:The Japanese eat anything.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494839)

as a long-term resident of the country let me assure you, fat TROLL, that you're quite wrong - the Japanese are quite conservative in what they eat, and while the quality of food has lessened somewhat in the past decade or so it is still one of the healthiest places to eat around.

One food may be ready now (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#42494157)

I'll bet they could make a Haggas that even PETA could love. It already doesn't resemble meat so there's no downside. I'm only half joking in that processed meats may be the inroad to wide acceptance.

why not use a meatgrinder instead of electricshock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494177)

the way it sounds is like get ready here it comes......
franken-burger
seriously the way good old fashioned commecial commercial hamburger is created is disgusting enough so i am not getting why the electroshock?
the shock are those sparky jacobs-ladders from the frankenstien movie---->

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://electricmuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/jacobs_ladder_1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://electricmuseum.com/?p%3D6&h=564&w=478&sz=41&tbnid=sxvgaHuFKqADVM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=76&zoom=1&usg=__sulEq7E2zJyZ3aeRgUUP_8csVOQ=&docid=cVZc4_5uNP3mJM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JlTpUJjHB-PhiwKDyIDgDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CHoQ9QEwCw&dur=4977

still my favorite food--home made thick burger on a tall bun with all the fixings --im hungry enough to try out

Irony (2)

Virtually Sane (1168935) | about 2 years ago | (#42494179)

What is ironic is that looking at current varieties of crops and farm animals, they have been cultivated to the point where they bear little resemblance to the original species. Also methods of generating new varieties include induced mutation, which is seen as OK by the organic lobby. Go figure.

Re:Irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494283)

This. "Fake" meat requires fundamental science. That is, getting closer to the real muscle than any butcher has ever done. They will learn to create muscle tissue that is indistinguishable from tissue that spent its life on ancient forests.

"Fake" meat will be more real than almost all "real" meat.

Re:Irony (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 2 years ago | (#42494447)

This. "Fake" meat requires fundamental science. That is, getting closer to the real muscle than any butcher has ever done. They will learn to create muscle tissue that is indistinguishable from tissue that spent its life on ancient forests.

"Fake" meat will be more real than almost all "real" meat.

Actually it's likely that once we get "close enough" that it'll turn out people like divergent varieties of meat which can only be produced through tissue engineering and definitely bear no resemblance to real tissue.

Re:Irony (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#42494531)

Wait until someone inserts the GFP gene into these lab-grown burgers so kids can have fluorescent hamburgers [wikipedia.org] at McDonald's.

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494339)

> which is seen as OK by the organic lobby. Go figure.

Speaking for myself and not for any organization or lobby, I've been annoyed by a seemingly recurring method to promote particular technologies like nuclear energy or genetic engineering.

Please let me take this opportunity to be on-topic and show how nefarious such method can be.

For instance, as of recently some dude figured he was "wrong" and GM is not bad, so he changed his view. Well, he might be wrong in opposing GM, but the other extreme (give a blank blanche to labs) might be a bigger problem. In my particular case, I have no problem if they make more meat with a GM ox (actually, this is great as it leads to sacrificing less animal lives)... but I certainly don't want to eat plants engineered to produce more toxic components or able to resist better to -- and thus more contaminated with -- plant ("weed") killers.

It's the same with nuclear energy: it's essential for medical use, but frankly, people don't know how to deal with nuclear reactors. It's not a Physics or Engineering problem -- it's a case of management incompetence. And I see no solution for that in the near future.

The method I talk about is stressing some quality of a technology while minimizing important drawbacks it or some of its uses may have. This is highly biased and dishonest IMHO.

Therefore, I welcome lab meat -- because I need meat, it's part of my culture, but I want to stop killing other animals lives to get the meat I need. Nonetheless, there must be proper management in place so that quality and origin are assured.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494495)

For future reference, the phrase is either "carte blanche" or "blank check/cheque". I believe it comes from a French King who had a habit of giving nonspecific warrants to his cronies.

Re:Irony (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#42494549)

It's the same with nuclear energy: it's essential for medical use, but frankly, people don't know how to deal with nuclear reactors. It's not a Physics or Engineering problem -- it's a case of management incompetence. And I see no solution for that in the near future.

You can (and should) say the same thing about cars. Automobiles driven by incompetents kill more people every day than nuclear power has in its entire human history.

At least, ignoring one or two minor aberrations. [wikipedia.org] Though they did work as intended. . .

why not use meat (1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494181)

sounds like a solution searching for a problem. meat exists, just kill and eat it, whats the beef?

Re:why not use meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494281)

You'r lucky we'r not a canibalistic society.

Re:why not use meat (2, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | about 2 years ago | (#42494329)

Because the resource consumption rates needed to make it the natural way cannot continue.

People have no idea the absolutely unbelievable amount of agricultural and hydrological resources the world pours down a veritable black hole to make meat. Put it this way: The amount of grain and water it takes to raise the meat eaten by Americans alone could feed everyone in the entire world.

Re:why not use meat (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494425)

The amount of grain and water it takes to raise the meat eaten by Americans alone could feed everyone in the entire world.

Most of the grains we feed to livestock aren't worth a shit to humans from a nutritional point of view. I wish every stupid hippie who propagates this bullshit would go out, pick up a couple bales of alfalfa, and try actually surviving on it. Doesn't work so fucking well, because you're a human and not a goddamn cow.

Look, out in your back yard all that grass? Goats can get fat eating that stuff. So do us all a favor and next time you feel like spreading this type of FUD, go cut your lawn and put the trimmings on your plate, and try living off that.

Re:why not use meat (3, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42494639)

Not true and you could also grow other crops.

True for areas which isn't suitable for farming grains though.

Re:why not use meat (4, Interesting)

The Master Control P (655590) | about 2 years ago | (#42494849)

If the area currently devoted to making feed for ruminants weren't needed for that, we wouldn't be farming grass and alfalfa on it now would we?

Regardless, you can't deny that the biological growth process is staggeringly inefficient from an energy in / energy in biomass standpoint. There's a reason why prey:predator biomass relationships tend to fan in something like 100:1 per level. It's possible given a large effort to farm a whole bunch of meat, but we're doing severe damage to water tables, river systems and everything within 100 miles of the Mississippi river delta due to farm runoff, a significant part of which is making feedstock for animals.

And no, I'm not confused about why I have sharp front teeth and I enjoy a good steak'n'taters as much as anyone. I simply see a situation whose energy/resource consumption is a Bad Idea (tm) in an era of imminent resource constraints. We should eat meat, but a whole lot less would be much healthier.

Re:why not use meat (4, Informative)

bogjobber (880402) | about 2 years ago | (#42494939)

Because Americans eat a lot of goat meat, right?

Most of the meat eaten in the US is beef and chicken. What do we feed most of the beef and chicken? There's some forage, sure. But the majority of it is corn and soy, grown on commercial farms. This is particularly true in large-scale commercial lots where the overwhelming majority of our meat is produced.

And I hate to burst your bubble, but alfalfa doesn't come falling out of the sky into fully formed hay bails. You have to plant it, fertilized it, and harvest it like all the other crops. That requires arable land, water, gasoline, and labor costs that could easily be used in a much more efficient way than producing meat, which was the GP poster's point.

But I guess having a understanding of basic economics [wikipedia.org] makes us stupid goddamn hippies.

Re:why not use meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494453)

Yeah but then their diets would lack meat, that is really no way to live. Governments have fallen for less.

Re:why not use meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494497)

Every time they make a breakthrough that means we can feed "everyone in the entire world", they double the number of people in the world.

In my opinion, "more people" definitely does not equal "better world".

Human population (in fact any population) will always expand to consume and exhaust resources available. Why do we think that humans are any different?

Re:why not use meat (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#42494809)

If we can't get enough meat, but the what is needed to raise it could feed everyone anyway, why go to the meat route anyway? Probably would be cheaper to have as food additives whatever we can't get or assimilate from vegetables.

You will still need to have cows and chickens, at least for milk and eggs, it could be luxury meat, but for normal, widescale food, probably vegetables (even lab growing them) could be the way,

Anyway, if labs can grow meat, they could grow/sintetize "pure" food at a potentially similar cost? Food patches could be the next hit.

Re:why not use meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494937)

we produce between 2 and 3 times the amount of food needed to feed everyone in the world currently. Obesity is a bigger problem worldwide then starvation.

In other words hunger is currently a distribution problem not a production problem. If you want to fix it you need to fix the distribution not the production.

Re:why not use meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494731)

You obviously haven't seen Food Inc.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494193)

I TOLD you, I was sure as hell that you were going to be able to get those extra inches!!!!!!!!!

THANKS science! :-D We at the math dept. are all very excited indeed.

Sounds like a good idea: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494207)

Just don't tell the consumers. They're idiots anyway. And we only want their money. Personally... we just detest them.

(Captcha was "yeasts" -- how appropriate :-)

Re:Sounds like a good idea: (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42494315)

how would you not tell the consumers?

label it as "not-pork,not-beef,not-vegetarian,not-meat, mystery fun product!"

Re:Sounds like a good idea: (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42494383)

how would you not tell the consumers?

label it as "not-pork,not-beef,not-vegetarian,not-meat, mystery fun product!"

There is food-stuffs in World of Warcraft called "mystery meat," so just slap a Blizzard and World of Warcraft logo on the package and profit!

Re:Sounds like a good idea: (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#42494427)

I Can't Believe It's Not Meat! (r)

This migfht be closer to the truth then you think:
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! is owned by Unilever.
Unilever is Dutch.
Dr Mark Post is Dutch doing the research in The Netherlands [youtube.com]

Re:Sounds like a good idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494483)

Wyngs (unlike Wings) can contain any meat you want.

Re:Sounds like a good idea: (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#42494557)

So that's where Jimmy Hoffa went!

This could be a revolution. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494253)

In vitro meat could be a solution for multiple problems namely global warming, obesity & hunger.

I can imagine that it will use way less resources than 'regular' meat while reducing GHG. It could aid in actually replacing some of the carbs in our diet
(ie. Atkins is what many cancer patients are on which is low or no carbs; low carb diets have been shown by studies to produce the best results in losing weight without actually starving someone).

Regulated & engineered meat could also aid in battling hunger for the diet of most poor people is based mainly on grains or nothing at all. And there isn't much of that to go around either (see Arab spring, past and coming droughts).

Now if we could only solve the energy & political problems..

Doesn't matter. (5, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#42494351)

"Dr Mark Post, promised that the first artificial hamburger, made from 10bn lab-grown cells, would be ready for "flame-grilling by Heston Blumenthal" by the end of 2012. At the time of writing it is still on the back burner."

It doesn't matter if it's on the back- or front-burner, the important thing is that it's on the BQ already.

Re:Doesn't matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494655)

Should be done by now.

Absolutely disgusting... (1)

Nexion (1064) | about 2 years ago | (#42494403)

On the bright side however, vegans can stop pretending their food actually tastes good! Oh... except those vegi burgers as they are tasty. Particularly when fried in bacon grease. ;)

Ethics for veggies (3, Interesting)

Smivs (1197859) | about 2 years ago | (#42494445)

As a vegetarian for the last 40-odd years this would certainly pose an ethical question for me - could I eat it?
Probably yes, as it's not a part of the corpse of an animal and presumably no animal has suffered or been exploited in its manufacture. But in practice no, because What's the Point!? I ate meat until my late teens and don't miss it at all. I enjoy a very tasty, healthy and nutritious diet and that's what really matters.

Re:Ethics for veggies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494507)

maybe you should let your tastebuds decide that.

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494529)

Would you try a new kind of fruit that 95% of people seemed to enjoy?

Re:Ethics for veggies (4, Funny)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#42494575)

The only reason your diet is tasty to you is because you haven't had bacon in forty years. And if ever we needed proof that greys were replacing humans with pod people, that would be it.

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

tstrunk (2562139) | about 2 years ago | (#42494613)

I'm a vegetarian and I would eat it.
No central nervous system == no consciousness == karma neutral food^^

And the reason to eat it is simple: easy access to proteins and also good taste.
It's entirely possible to be on a completely vegetarian diet. But you don't have as much choice as the meat eaters, especially considering instant food.

Re:Ethics for veggies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494739)

I'm a vegetarian and I would eat it.
No central nervous system == no consciousness == karma neutral food^^

And the reason to eat it is simple: easy access to proteins and also good taste.
It's entirely possible to be on a completely vegetarian diet. But you don't have as much choice as the meat eaters, especially considering instant food.

Umm, if your whole reason for being a vegetarian is because you're opposed to animals being grown for human use, you shouldn't eat this lab-grown meat either.

You DO know that pretty much all biomedical research depends on using animals in some form, right? Even when live animals are not used for testing, there are innumerous reagents used in labs worldwide that are derived from animals: cow/horse serum for cell culture media, bovine serum albumin for enzymatic reactions, DNA extracted from salmon sperm to name the first to come to my head.

I fully support the use of animals both in lab research and to feed myself, but I'm just saying that if you're a vegetarian for that specific reason it would be quite hypocritical to eat "animal-free meat" that was developed from the suffering of all those poor cuddly cows, mice and rats...

Re:Ethics for veggies (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42494947)

If you're a vegetarian for that specific reason it would be quite hypocritical to eat "animal-free meat" that was developed from the suffering of all those poor cuddly cows, mice and rats...

Seems like an extension of the sunk cost fallacy - if the cost has already been paid, refusing to use the product doesn't really make sense.

TBH, this is something that really winds me up about vegitarians - If you want to reduce animal suffering by not eating meat, or reduce environmental impact, then fair enough. But refusing to eat anything that has been grilled on the same bars as meat makes no sense - no extra suffering is going to happen because someone didn't wash the grill pan between cooking their bacon and your vegi-burgers. Similarly, flatly refusing to eat some meat that is only going to be thrown away if no one eats it is completely nonsensical. The best way to reduce your environmental impact is to use as much of the produce as possible, rather than refusing to eat left over meat and grilling up some vegi-burgers instead!

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about 2 years ago | (#42494635)

Yup, no bacon for 40 years, and not missed at all. There is a common mis-conception amongst carnivores that a meal has to contain meat to be tasty. This is complete nonesense, but unfortunately prejudice and ignorance prevent many people from even investigating this fact with an open mind.
@ 1st A/C - my tastebuds are fine thanks, and are stimulated frequently :)
@ A/C No2 - As for the 'New Fruit', well of course I'd try it. I am a keen explorer of flavour and am more than willing to try new foods (providing they are veggie ;) ) which is one of the reasons I never find food boring.

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42494989)

@ A/C No2 - As for the 'New Fruit', well of course I'd try it. I am a keen explorer of flavour and am more than willing to try new foods (providing they are veggie ;) ) which is one of the reasons I never find food boring.

To quote your original post, "what's the point" in trying a new fruit? You said there was no point eating in vitro meat because you don't miss meat; presumably you also don't miss this new fruit, so what would be the point in trying it?

You seem to have said that the point of trying the new fruit is because you'd like to explore new flavours. I'm sure that, despire having had meat at one point in your life, you haven't tried all types of meat, so presumably the point of trying in vitro meats would be the same - to explore new flavours. On the whole I don't see any difference between in vitro meat and fruit/veg - neither seems any more unethical, so logically they can be treated identically.

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 2 years ago | (#42494813)

Well how do you define an animal? The meat will have to be alive to be grown in a lab, so you'd still be killing it before consumption (well most of us will).

Re:Ethics for veggies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494973)

By the same reasoning eating plants involves killing living structures. I guess the key distinction is consciousness - a bit of meat without a brain can't reasonably be expected to be a self-aware entity.

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42495031)

Well how do you define an animal? The meat will have to be alive to be grown in a lab, so you'd still be killing it before consumption (well most of us will).

The cells in a carrot are alive whilst it is being grown and when you cook it you kill it - what's the difference?

(Yes, plant cells and meat cells are physically different, but if neither organism has a central nervous system, is that ethically important?)

Re:Ethics for veggies (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | about 2 years ago | (#42495059)

I'm a meat eater myself, but I think the reasoning is pretty simple, how you define an animal is irrelevant, it's about how you define the spectrum of consciousness.

If a cow can experience pain and fear similar to our own then some people would consider it unethical to kill it so they can enjoy a juicy steak.
Some people are not ok with killing a cow but are ok with killing a shrimp, because it has a more basic nervous system and they perceive it as closer to an automaton than to a human being.
Still others wouldn't be fine with eating all of those but would murder innocent baby carrots who scream in terror in slow motion.

Now a piece of meat as discussed in TFA, I think you could even argue that it's lower on the consciousness spectrum than the humble carrot, since it's just a collection of cells on a scaffold, receiving nutrients from an outside environment with no motivation to grow or respond to sustained damage as an organism.

How about Quorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494539)

Isn't that as close to lab-grown meat as you can presently get? It doesn't start with animal cells but apart from that it's completely made in a lab/factory. Straight off the assembly line it doesn't taste precisely like meat to a meat-eater, but it sure does when processed into your typical supermarket meal product.

Chicken Little, your time has come (almost) (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 2 years ago | (#42494541)

No, not the disney Movie but the SF novel from 1952.

The Space Merchants, by Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth).

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?bnum=1002 [technovelgy.com]

Re:Chicken Little, your time has come (almost) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42494699)

The rest of the novel has already come true (except in a lesser venue) but instead of the congressman from Exxon, it's the congressmen from BP, Monsanto, Halliburton...

"in vitro grown"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494585)

Come on Slashdotters, any way we can spin this as "3D printing"? I haven't seen a good 3D hype story in a while. Has 3D printing jumped the shark yet here on slash? Or better yet, "artificial meat grown in private space"? We need more hype! Just good old biotech here on Earth... That's too real. We need more fantasy and delusion here on Slash!

Come on fellow geeks!

"3D printed in vitro space meat uses Raspberry Pi!"

My vision (2)

32771 (906153) | about 2 years ago | (#42494597)

I'm still dreaming of a steak tree - doesn't have to move, grows on sunlight, doesn't need the highly interdependent energy intensive support infrastructure of industrial society, tastes delicious.

The downside would be that trees normally take a while until they can procreate, delaying breeding attempts. The other thing might be that the global greenhouse pickle we got ourselves into would rather favour movable trees, much like the ones seen in Lord of the Rings, due to the rapidity of the climate changes and weather extremes persisting for longer durations. Maybe cows with chlorophyll would be a better idea. Oh no, wait - cows move around to harvest stored energy from the grass, their own surface would never be enough at the puny photosynthesis efficiencies! They might get maybe a 1-2W assuming 100W average insolation.

Well maybe I could settle for beans with beef taste and some additional proteins.

Re:My vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494661)

LOL sure and about 12 nanoseconds later nature will have evolved a predator/disease that will require as many pesticides and tech inputs for your magical tree as we do now for industrial farming....

Re:My vision (1)

32771 (906153) | about 2 years ago | (#42494789)

The predators would probably already exist, the tree might be more sensitive to any of them because of its newly developed steakiness, which might divert energy normally used for defending it.

My ultimate worry was more about the annual nomadic future we might be forcing plants into due to climate change though.

Is it tasty? (1)

gmfeier (1474997) | about 2 years ago | (#42494611)

Went out last night and had an amazing prime rib. If lab-grown meat would taste like that, I'd be all over it.

Homer Simpsons Says (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494617)

If God didn't want use to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat.

Chinese Faux Meats (3, Informative)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 years ago | (#42494671)

This technology isn't really needed. Chinese Buddhists have been making faux meats for centuries. They are quite good.

There are also newer, Western faux meats that are quite good. Check out brands like Gardein and Beyond Meat.

Throughout most of human history, meat in the quantity Westerners are used to has been quite rare. The result are ethic cuisines thousands of years old that use little, if any meat, for tasty, complete ( and healthier ) nutrition.

Best name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494673)

I'm thinking "SMEET" or "S'MEET", not sure about the apostrophe.

The article contradicts itself (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#42494917)

It first blames monsanto for creating a scare because of its out of control actions, then argues for less control by governments.

The simple fact is that if you don't have excessive restrictions, business WILL abuse its freedom, anything from DDT, tobacco, countless medicines which turned out to be worse then the disease.

The whole reason GM food is distrusted is precisely because the US government reduced restrictions and Monsanto went wild, the article even calls it Dr Frankenstein. How can you then argue that governments should reduce restrictions?

No. MORE restrictions and let the research be done in public in universities with NO pressure to produce results for the next financial quarter OR for that matter the next decade. ONLY when research is down with pressure to perform can you be reasonably certain the scientist will put safety over results.

The risk is NOT a GM monster getting away so much as that public perception will turn against the very idea and ALL research must be shelved. Public perception matters in a democracy and it should, that is what democracies are all about.

The way the Dutch government is doing it is the right way, take taxes from the food industry and use it to fund research into food away from commercial pressures. It might or might one day produce something viable but it will do so because of scientific merits, not a CEO worried about his bonus.

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