by Yvonne Glasgow
Scientists have been experimenting for years, and now a Dutch researcher is getting paid a lot of money to bring some test tube meat to our tables. Meat that is real, but doesn’t come from the slaughtering of animals. Will this change some vegetarians back to meat eaters? Maybe, if the reason they stopped eating meat was because of the animals being allegedly tortured, and murdered in order to feed the masses. But how soon will this factory grown meat hit the grocery shelves? How nutritious is it?
Synthetic Meat Time Line
Dr. Mark Post, the Dutch researcher heading this project, thinks he will have a viable hamburger ready to eat in about a year, and if that doesn’t happen he probably won’t get paid. But when one looks at the money it costs to make this burger, estimates say about a quarter of a million euros, one must wonder how any normal person will be able to afford this synthetic meat. Dr. Post is the head of the department of vascular physiology at Maastricht University. And even though he is currently being paid some big bucks for this huge science fair project, he isn’t the first to try to make meat with stem cells. NASA and a few other scientists have tried this in the past. It could be less than a decade down the road when this man-made meat hits the grocery store shelves. But how much will it cost consumers? There’s just no way to tell yet.
But Is It Nutritious?
Well, Dr. Post’s first trial was a piece of white… something. White because there is no blood in this “meat.” He is using pig cells and horse fetal serum, to make his manufactured meat. Muscle stem cells, and embryonic stem cells, are also on board to make this factory meat. Why stem cells? Because they can replicate themselves. Electric shocks help stimulate growth of the cells, into synthetic meat or new organs, or whatever. Nutrition? It seems there is none, except protein. And this animal-less meat doesn’t contain as much protein as the real thing. But just like the GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) foods that cover the grocery store shelves now, this non-meat meat will be pumped with the iron and Omega 3’s the body needs for good health.
What’s The Point Though?
Why does someone want to make meat from stem cells and turn meat manufacturing from farming to a lab production? There are environmental benefits, including a reduction of emissions. Less farmland means less destruction of nature. Are not a lessened carbon footprint and better animal welfare reasons enough to eat this cruelty free meat?
It will be a while before households are stocking up on synthetic meat, and when they can they will still have the normal, animal, meat option. It would take a lot of money and a lot of work to make enough of this alternate meat product to actually hurt farming.
Photo Credits: Wired.com