Last week scientists, environmentalists, and food industry folks met in Norway to talk about the future of our steak and how it just might come from a test tube, at the In Vitro Meat Symposium. The issues at hand are a rising global middle class that threatens to double meat consumption rates by 2050, as well as the environmental impact of raising meat.
But meat grown in a test tube? The whole thing just seems creepy. It may, however, be the steak of the future. According to Wired magazine:
Rapidly evolving technology and increasing concern about the environmental impact of meat production are signs that vat-grown meat is moving from scientific curiosity to consumer option. In vitro meat production is a specialized form of tissue engineering, a biomedical practice in which scientists try to grow animal tissues like bone, skin, kidneys and hearts. Proponents say it will ultimately be a more efficient way to make animal meat, which would reduce the carbon footprint of meat products.
Just for clarification’s sake: We’re not talking about growing an entire animal (“75 to 95 percent of what we feed an animal is lost,” a Johns Hopkins researcher claims). Nope, they’d just be growing your dinner meat. Somehow they’d “get cells to grow as if they were inside a living animal.”
Minus the animal.
The article does admit that “None of the experts were sure if there is a large market of early adopters who want to eat test tube meat for environmental, health or ethical reasons.”
I can’t imagine why.