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Test tube hamburgers to be served this year - Telegraph
The world's first test tube hamburger will be served up this October after scientists perfected the art of growing beef in the lab.

By generating strips of meat from stem cells researchers believe they can create a product that is identical to a real burger.

The process of culturing the artificial meat in the lab is so laborious that the finished product, expected to arrive in eight months' time, will cost about £220,000 (EUR250,000).

But researchers expect that after producing their first patty they will be able to scale up the process to create affordable artificial meat products.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yuk?

This is not yukky, it's awesome. If they can get it down to a cost where it becomes sorta competitive with commercial beef, we can have beef sans the deforestation and methane from cow farts.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh brave new world!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most beef today is produced in factories. The fact that some of the machinery in those factories goes "muuh" when you fuel it is incidental to that fact.

In this respect, the brave new world arrived fifty years ago.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:16:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. But the assumption in your comment is that we actually need huge amounts of something called "burgers". Note: not meat, just some kind of pasty substitute between bits of bread.

There is also the question of what the new industry would mean in environmental terms, once ramped up to mass production levels.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We do need huge amounts of dietary proteins.

How interesting:

Biologists have long researched methods for growing muscle tissue in laboratory conditions. PETA has offered a $1 million prize to the first company that can bring lab-grown chicken meat to consumers by 2012.
(wikipedia)

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed we do need protein, but meat is not the only source. I mean, all this is well-known.

As to the chicken prize, $1mn is laughably small compared to the $$$ the food industry would make out of such a product. I notice, anyway, that there's no winner.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Burgers are lots of things. I know several burger places that serve perfectly fine food.

If you associate "burgers" with McDonald's, I can see where your reaction would come from. Me, I usually class McDonald's as an expensive brand of dog food rather than a cheap brand of burger.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fortunately, my gastronomico-burger culture goes beyond MacDonald's.

But whatever. I don't think anything scalable will come from test-tube burger paste, and, if it did, it would probably be "an expensive brand of dog food".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I somehow sense irony in that post.  Sometimes, progress is good.
by Zwackus on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:18:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Y'know, you're auto-defining it as "progress". And I've got nothing against progress at all.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:32:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We should think of this as yet another single-cell-organism-colony protein source food. Such as yeast, yoghurt, fungi...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And then the question becomes: is it better then the existing ones? There is already a market of I-can't-believe-it-is-not-meat vegetarian sausages, burgers, schnitzels and such.

Or does the search for "beef" and "chicken" one-cell organisms stem from the though is that if the cell springs from a cow or chicken before extensive modifications it will be more acceptable to non-vegetarians then the curent products?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:52:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the hope is that if will be easier to mimic the texture and flavour of meat if, you know, it's actually animal tissue.

Although evidently not all parts of the cow or chicken look, feel or taste the same. And

Large scale production of in vitro meat may require artificial growth hormones to be added to the culture for meat production. No procedure has been presented to produce large scale in vitro meat without the use of antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections.
I think the importance of the animal's immune system cannot be overstated, and even there industrial meat production has led to abuse of antibiotics. So that's not a cause for optimism.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:58:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.  And imagine a future in which meat-eating households can each culture and rear their own regenerating meat blob, and harvest it themselves.  While presumably the meat blob would need some sort of food stuff, it would have to be far more efficient at turning that nutrition into delicious meat than a proper animal, as it doesn't have to do all that breathing and moving and living and stuff.  Household meat-sufficiency, here at last.

Seriously, this would be a truly incredibly technology.

by Zwackus on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like sourdough!

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:27:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"we can have beef sans the deforestation and methane from cow farts"

Not to mention unnecessary suffering associated with factory farming.

I'd say the jury is still out on whether it'll be a nice development or indeed something repulsive, but I wouldn't slam it a priori.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:45:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the exception of US feedlots, beef is mostly not produced by factory farming methods (dairy cattle, OTOH, are much more intensively farmed). That is not a defence on my part of the methods used, particularly in S America, which do result in deforestation (and/or enclosure and transformation of savanna-type regions). A look on Google Earth at the vast areas around the common borders of Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia is instructive.

But the practical answer seems to me to replace meat protein by vegetable protein - eat less meat.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be true of beef (admittedly the example I gave, quoting you), but certainly not of poultry, or pork.

But while your practical answer is nutritionally the right one (and one I do follow, although not nearly as much as I should), it is a rather big gastronomical sacrifice. So if they managed to make it just as good (a colossal if, I know) it would be great.

Especially if they actually managed to make it require less antibiotics rather than more. I'm not saying it will work. Only that I would not consider it an abomination to eat it if it did.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:09:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
an abomination

No, certainly not. There are far worse things on sale right now.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, is this less yucky?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:28:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the result kosher? Halal? If you can do the same with horsemeat, will it be legal in the U.S? This is going to be lots of fun....
by gk (gk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:14:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's based on stem cells. It cannot be Abrahamically legal...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French far right uses halal accusation to woo voters | Reuters

at a congress of her National Front party in Lille, Le Pen returned to familiar anti-immigration territory, saying she had proof that all meat in Paris was halal - killed by cutting the animal's throat and letting its blood drain out.

"This situation is deception and the government has been fully aware of it for months," Le Pen said. "All the abattoirs of the Paris region have succumbed to the rules of a minority. We have reason to be disgusted."

News for Parisian Jews - their kosher meat is in fact halal.

(Le Pen was talking rubbish of course - except that the small abbattoirs in the Ile-de-France region are halal. They just don't provide anything like all the meat that is supplied to the region from other regions of France and Europe and elsewhere).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess she saw the same TV doco as me.

The small abattoirs are all halal, only partly to serve the actual halal market, but mostly, it seems, because it's cheaper, i.e. they are using the religious alibi because it enables them to take short cuts.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recognize that we live in a world where material science has made advanced nuclear reactors safe, and where even economics is now down to a predictable and replicable discipline. And a renowned study from the impartial Texas school at the center of the oil industry has now made fracking...

So now eating lab meat, assuming all the chemicals and antibiotics are washed out before serving, is just another step in the development of our civilization?

Let's forget about pointless measures like the difference in taste between a chemically-fed, hydroponically grown tomato and one of the heritage varieties. Have we then thrown out any concept of life force? Of higher order?

Is lab meat another data point that this civilization has no clue about the vast net of connection in which we swim?

(PS. I do not argue against research, though it might be more fruitful if research was carried out by people who at least acknowledge the mystery and its web of manifestation.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:54:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The way I see it, the following facts are pertinent:

First world civilisation consumes way more meat than can be sustainably harvested given contemporary technology. There are three basic ways to solve that problem:

  1. Find alternatives to meat.

  2. Make better technology.

  3. Go without.

These are not mutually exclusive, so there is no need to recoil from 2) just because there is still low hanging fruit in 1).

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 11:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect CH has philosophical objectios to the use of meat harvesting technology and civilisation in the same sentence...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 11:53:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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