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Category: Nutrition


Lab-Meat. Soon in a Store Near You.

Synthetic meat is certainly one of the latest innovations in food technology that has certainly gained a lot of attention. Basically, what this involves is culturing animal cells in the laboratory and supplying nutrients until they grow into large enough pieces that they can be used as food. So far, the technology has been used to produce “beef,” “duck,” and even “chicken.”

While the current state of the science involved in these endeavors produces meat costing tens of thousands of dollars for a single portion, the innovative scientists involved in these efforts clearly have their eyes on the notion of launching a highly sustainable and profitable industry. Further, this type of “food” production will clearly leverage the notions of being both environmentally friendly and a more ethical alternative to the commercial methods of raising and slaughtering animals.

From a regulatory perspective, it is unclear what governmental institution would be challenged with oversight as it relates to these products. Things like food additives as well as products derived from human cells are in the province of the FDA while the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees animal and plant food products.

But regardless of what agency ultimately is charged with writing the rules for this new area of food technology, there is reason for concern. We’ve got to take a step back and recognize that the foods we consume are far more complex than their metrics of caloric content, percentage saturated fat, vitamin content, and so on. The foods that we consume actually influence the expression of our DNA – a process called epigenetics. And so far, much like with currently available GMO foods, no one seems to be looking at how these new lab-made meats will affect the expression of our DNA – our very life code.

So it will be interesting to see how this plays out. No doubt, if this technology continues to advance it will become enormously profitable. But we must always embrace the dictum of “Above all, do no harm,” when our actions and recommendations can affect human health.

  • Shad N. Ffroyd

    Uh boy, this has the feel of a real “charley foxtrot” as we used to say when I was in the military. News such as this inevitably invokes thoughts of the movie “Soylent Green.” Lab food, lab nutrition, lab this, lab that. Yeesh.

    • TechnoTriticale

      And we can expect it to be as well thought out and tested as the current Soylent product. See footnote*

      Some of the needed tests (human microbiome) are arguably impossible to run with today’s state of knowledge.

      I’ll consider trying synthehol long before synthehog.☺
      – –
      * Below is an edited list from the v1.8 Soylent powder product. Any ONE of these ingredients would keep me from consuming it. That despite their noble intentions, they appear to be clueless about why these are troubling-to-toxic, speaks to just how screwed up the processed food-like substance industry is.

      • Shad N. Ffroyd

        Synthehol vs synthehog. Now that’s funny.

        Fair warning, I am going to steal that.

        re: your comment about the Soylent powder v1.8 and their “noble” intentions: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      • Ronna Berezin

        Read No Grain No Pain

      • Bill Shane


      • Larry

        Here in UK recently there was debate on Vitamin D causing rickits & other bone problems lack of sun also causes this however sun contains Vitamin D, in this country we have very little of this so we have to get it in other forms when I was a child now 78, we were in the war years given consentrated orange juice Calcium tablets , Cod liver oil & Malt daily didn’t do us any harm I even look 20yrs younger . Finally I do to-day take Co.enzyme Q10 have done for some years with no Idea if the brand I use contains the correct ingrediants

  • Iona Main Stewart

    Well, I’m not going to eat that either.

  • It’s rare that a reductive approach that tries to bring things down to just a few variables like NPK for fertilizer produces anything as complex, interesting, and healthy as the natural alternative. I have serious reservations about “lab meat.”

    • rooibos

      Absolutely!! will we ever learn, that profit is not the final determinant of value????

  • Ronna Berezin

    I am reviled by the concept of killing animals for my food, but why are meat eaters shocked at the ramifications of killing animals for food and then growing them for food … as long as it isn’t us animals they are killing …. or is it? Thus the saying, “What goes around comes around !” is timely here! This is a profound notion I don’t expect meat eaters to really get!

    • Dani

      Evolutionarily speaking, had our ancestors not started eating animals, you would neither have the capacity to be reviled… nor would you be able to conceptualize such “profound” feelings of revulsion. I think vegetarianism is a compassionate way to live, however, it’s not appropriate for all or even most people. The tone of your comment suggests that “meat eaters” are unenlightened butchers, and I believe that is an unfair implication. I certainly acknowledge that there are a myriad of issues surrounding meat consumption, particularly in the West, but not all omnivores disregard the sanctity of life for a fast food burger. Many of us revere the gifts of sustenance that the universe provides, wether plant or animal. I’m no less reviled by killing an animal for my food than I am witnessing a bear eat a salmon, a lion eat a zebra, or a house cat eat a mouse. It’s the circle of life, and wether you choose to step outside of that circle and be a vegetarian is a personal decision. Making that decision does not, however, afford you the right to condemn those who don’t.

      • Rita Ryan

        hear hear

      • rooibos

        Here, here! again, Rita! : ) ‘Feel good’ is great, but ‘do good’ might be better, and doing good for our planet home may require humbly revering the natural processes that support life (and less reverence for human intellectual hubris… always a double edged sword). This might mean paying a lot more for humanely raised meat (we are, in truth, an apex predator species), so as to provide a livelihood for the conscientious producers of such contented and well fed creatures. (And we could be considering ways of living that don’t worship Mammon.. ?)

      • joanna


      • Larry

        some what agree not totally.

    • AnnieLaurie Burke

      Do you get the profound notion of the coevolution of species? How about the intricate ecological web of life in various natural systems? Perhaps you should check out how human intervention has played out for prey species when we “selectively eradicate” predators to take the (sadly misperceived ) “pressure” off said prey animals. The technology to produce lab-grown meat will certainly develop far faster than human understanding of natural systems, including our own genetics and physiology. BTW, homo sapiens that consume meat are omnivores, not “meat eaters”. The latter is a perjorative term used by vegans that’s intended to elicit an emotional, biased response. It has nothing to do with science, nor with factual issues of any kind.

    • sharon brink

      I agree. Eating is about nutrients. We can get our full supply without taking lives. I too am baffled with the preference to take a life over a ‘hunk of meat’.As they say if slaughter houses had glass walls it might not be so easy.

    • sharon brink

      No kidding

  • Jay

    Ok now I know that David is going to the crazy camp. I like many things that David brings to the table but he just lost me. Red, red meat is good and if there was enough then starvation across the planet would be ended. This is such an over reach and is stupid. Protein food research is great but don’t call it meat. Gee you guys, are the same people that hate any sort of GMO’s. Come on man?

    • Rosie

      ? I didn’t get the impression he was advocating this form of (fake) meat….

  • Angel

    Well, I put nothing past these mad scientists…that being said will it be made clear on labeling?? Will we have a choice, what we put into our bodies for optimal health? Well raised and fed beef is very healthy on a limited basis.
    As it is now, we have to research these words to describe ingredients. Meant to deceive? perhaps. Could they, would they?? I think we know the answer to that question.

  • sharon brink

    I personally am concerned about the ramifications to this earth by the overpopulation of humans, never mind the effect of ‘growing’ trillions of animals and that effect on the air, soil and water that we really do rely on for life. Cultured meat would come in the same package as any other meat, less GMOs, herbicides, pesticides, and growth hormones that are included in much of product we have today.

    • Cole

      This sounds horrible, but earth has always naturally taken care of over population on its own. Humans may be helping nature out by obesity and poor health. Many are dying much younger than previous generations and I have a funny feeling it’s going to get worse before it gets better… so as for over population it may actually correct its self in the coming generations

      • Larry

        don’t know whhere you got this from certainly in the western world people are taller & live longer !

    • Larry

      need more expert advice on this.

  • Greg McGrew

    When we people understand natures “whole spectrum” packaging is the best way to go. Whole/real foods. So crazy

  • AnnieLaurie Burke

    Any lab meat I eat would have to be organic and pasture-raised 😉

  • Janet

    This is insane — when will we understand how our health is intrinsically tied to nature and not the laboratory. My parents/grandparents were raised on farms and they enjoyed excellent health (no one wore glasses until they were old, they had clear complexions, perfect teeth and were of average weight). Along comes my generation (raised on packaged food, pasteurized and hormone drenched milk with vegetables sprayed with God only knows what) and we most all wear glasses, spend enough on dentists to buy them a new car, struggle with weight issues and acne. Tell me we’re headed in the right direction with GMO’s and lab-raised meat, etc. And — this doesn’t even bring up the subject of how nutrition may (and I believe it does) affect our mental/emotional health as well. Insanity reins.

  • Bill Shane

    Here’s what will eventually happen: The producers of Lab Meat will develop so much of it, that it’ll sell for the prices we’re paying for regular meat today. Regular meat will then become a luxury and you’ll be lucky to get 80/20 hamburger meat for less than $25.00 a pound. Corporations are doing their best to take over the world. I’m glad I’m 66.

  • BooBooBaby

    This sounds kinda gross!

  • vero

    Dear dr david. Im starting this way you teach us… i have a baby of 2 years… since we start we dont take any carb i feel her not too happy…. what you recomend us please .hope you read this and help us … and about the article i have to say we are 70.000.000 billiom people in the planet . Animal feed whit grains are killing the earth and the water… if you can make numbers you will see we need a solution. Or every family have his own animals or keep living in citys eating this sounds like a solution.

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