Monday

The Frankenmeat Problem

By now you may have seen the stories about so-called "frankenmeat"; a lab grown meat product largely underwritten by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. It's meat at the cellular level, but not meat from a living animal - at least not in the traditional sense. It's produced by taking stem cells from a cow, growing them in the lab and then fabricating them into (in this case) a "beef patty". There no fat in the product and the fired up patty was declared to be pretty similar to a hamburger, but different enough to seem not quite right. So, what is all  this about - other than having us not grow and slaughter animals for food? We already have veggie burgers. don't we?


The main idea seems to be to switch food production from livestock to vegetables and grains, as the latter uses much less energy and resources to produce, and this will allow us to continue to feed a growing world population. Oh, and cow flatulence is a big problem too, apparently.


While most research into growing tissues from stem cells is aimed at developing new medical treatments, Post is interested in cultured meat to address what he describes as a growing global food crisis. The world's appetite for meat is growing, he says, yet humans already use 70 per cent of worldwide agricultural capacity to provide feed for livestock. Growing meat in the lab could help relieve some of the environmental and economic pressures created by traditional farming.
My concerns, apart from the odd concept, is in two areas:

1 - scientists think they have a good understanding of metabolism and the effects of food on the human body. I think that has been shown to be false from all the contradictory "evidence" we see from decade to decade on what we should eat and how much of it. I don't think they understand quite as much as they think they do.

2 -  you just KNOW they will try to make this product "better" by adding all kinds of stuff to it over time (please refer to number 1 above). We have calcium in Orange juice and all kinds of examples of this questionable tweaking going on. Look at the list of ingredients in most food products...

I think on some level, I would rather just be a vegetarian than embrace a product like this; not just because it's new or sounds kinda creepy, but because the older I get the less I trust mankind in general and scientists in particular.

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