I recently posted about how food manufacturing companies are working to produce what they feel are better tasting, better looking meat substitutes from plant sources and also about the opinions of advocates for in-vitro growth of actual meats.
Last week, ScienceDaily reported on a presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2012 Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Las Vegas. I found the report and what was discussed at the presentation to be disturbing. Of course, I tend to think that food and technology are already far too intimately acquainted. GMOs have done nothing positive for our plant-based foods and I fear that these new meat substitutes and in-vitro meat products are just more of the same.
The presentation was basically about new research and development in producing either artificial meats or artificially-grown meats.
The ‘emerging, next-generation plant-based meat (alternatives) promise to deliver the sensory experience of conventional animal proteins for specific culinary applications,’ said Nicholas J. Genovese, PhD, visiting scholar and consultant at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, scientists are growing in-vitro meat cells and muscle that may someday replace chicken, beef and pork.”
The ScienceDaily article reports on small producers who are working to replicate the taste, texture and nutrition of chicken, meat and eggs using plant-based materials. They’re doing this primarily because they believe that raising these products naturally is an unsustainable practice that will eventually deplete our land resources. I get that, and I agree for the most part that plant-based substitutes have a place in our diets, especially for vegetarians. I’m certainly in favor of animals not being raised for food.
However, I’m completely creeped out about the idea of in-vitro meat production.
This may seem to make sense when considering depleting land resources, but it does not make sense from a natural point of view.
The in-vitro process of growing artificial meat involves collecting animal cells through a biopsy (or using embryonic stem cells), isolating the cells, and then utilizing a growth serum to grow the cells into real muscle fiber, said Merko Betti, PhD, associate professor in the department of agricultural, food and nutritional science at the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada.”
Is it just me, or does this sound a lot like cloning? How natural is this meat, really? My problems with this are mainly from a concern that pretty soon all of our food will be created artificially. What do you think?