You might already have eaten it, in a sausage or in a burger. I mean “meat” cultivated in a lab. The produce that is supposed to save our Earth (and us) from becoming a desert like Mars may have reached our Supermarkets. Considering how many people can’t get off meat even if it is unhealthy and even if it’s destroying our planet, quickly, and even if it’s no doubt bad for the animals, it might be worth the extra few bucks to buy nuggets or hamburgers that didn’t require torture and killing or pretending that fake meat made of soy or wheat tastes and feels like meat.
For now lab-meat looks, feels and tastes like minced meat, and is – in fact, right down to the cellular level – meat, says Good Food Institute’s, (a think tank for the plant-based and clean meat, egg and dairy fields) executive director Bruce Friedrich (watch his excellent TED-talk go here).
The key difference? It was grown in a lab in a production facility and not grown in a living, breathing animal. Therefore it’s called “clean”, meaning there are no waste products such as bones, skin, intestines or other parts that animals require to live and therefore feed, and to a huge environmental cost in the form of green house gases, deforestation, pollution, and erosion just to mention a few. The waste of growing your food in a cow is 90%, as only 10% will be eaten. (Since mad cow disease it’s now illegal to feed these leftover parts back to the animals in most countries.)
In 1932 Winston Churchill made a bold prediction, in a collection of essays entitled Thoughts and Adventures. “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” 80 years later it’s not science fiction anymore. Several companies have made great strides in developing lab-grown meat. If the technology reaches its full potential, clean meat could help satisfy the planet’s growing demand for meat.
By 2050, worldwide meat consumption will increase by 73%, according to a 2011 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report (http://tinyurl.com/FAO-livestock2). The question is if lab-meat can be provided fast enough?
Seeing these videos and reports only one question comes to my mind, only one. Why the f* don’t people just become vegan? People don’t seem to give a damn about animal suffering, or the environmental catastrophe the meat industry causes, or the health issues it causes. Maybe when people begin to care, those burgers made of bugs might finally be an option, since they will at least not make the planet Earth a desert and require our grandkids to breathe through masks. It’s a fantastic source of protein and other nutrients at low cost.