Thursday, April 29, 2010

In Vitro Meat

Within recent years, the technology has been developed to grow meat in vitro. This means that regular muscle and fat cells can be forced, through a complicated process, to proliferate and divide creating meat (1). Two distinct methods are available for creating this in vitro meat. The first creates loose muscle cells ideal for minced meat, while the second would create a form of meat that would look similar to a conventional variety. Some researchers believe that this in vitro meat is ready for consumer production, and even believe that they can alter the properties of the meat to one day be more healthy than the conventional variety (2). Researchers believe that they have the technology to reduce the saturated fat content, as well as adding Omega 3 fatty acids. The process would also potentially expose the meat to less bacterial sources, as it wouldn’t need to be grown on an animal. In vitro meat is currently expensive, but is projected to be the same price as conventional meat and only twice the price of conventional chicken.
My question is simple. Do the vast benefits of this new technology outweigh other negative factors? What do you think?
Some benefits:
o Possibly more healthy
o Cheaper as the technology expands
o No animal welfare concerns
Some costs:
o Hormonal Risks (similar growth hormones are used with in vitro meats as are used with conventional practices)
o Meat may not be as appealing visually
o Costly research must be done
o Huge amounts of jobs would have to be reallocated to accept this new market

1) Siegelbaum, D.J. (2008-04-23). "In Search of a Test-Tube Hamburger"
2) Macintyre, Ben (2007-01-20). "Test-tube meat science's next leap"


  1. Wow this is really interesting, though admittedly my first thought was that this is disgusting. Potentially this could solve a lot of environmental issues... I think society would reject this idea completely, but if they didn't with other GMO's, then it can't hurt, eh? I'm all for animal rights!

  2. Seems like a long term possibility. Still, I wouldn't be the first to try it. One concern that came to mind is the method used to reproduce(grow) the new meat cells. Could this potentially cause our own cells to reproduce(cancer)?

  3. This could be the answer to the heated animal welfare/factory farming issue, but I wont trust it until there has been extensive, and I mean EXTENSIVE human testing for possible side effects. But if everything proves to be good with this in vitro meat then it will definitely be a one-stop solution to a lot of today's ethical problems.

  4. Seems like an interesting concept that would require a shift in attitudes. I myself can't fathom consuming this type of product. Not only would it be unappealing on the surface level but also brings up moral and ethical issues. Not saying that my thinking is right, but I believe it echoes the thoughts of many.

  5. I think this can be filed under the category of "it can't be good for you." This technology, along with GMO technology, is so new that we simply do not know what kind of long term effects it may have on human health. I think one thing is certain though--there is no way that eating in-vitro meat can be SO MUCH better for you than eating regular meat that it's worth the potential health costs.

  6. While I am all for animal rights, and overall less meat consumption and better animal welfare and raising conditions, I am not sure this is the path we should take. First of all, the expense must be very high to produce meat in this fashion. Secondly, I believe the only way meat produced this way would enter the market is if it was secretly disguised as conventionally produced meat. Very interesting, I'm really not sure about my final feelings...

  7. It will be very interesting to see how this develops in coming years. As everyone else stated I felt fairly uncomfortable just reading this article, so actually chowing down on some in virto meat seems for me unlikely anytime soon. But if the product was proven to be safe and tasty maybe not only my views will change but societies as well.

  8. It is interesting how technology has changed and added so many different things to what people eat. I am a vegetarian and find all meat processing grows but I think that other people would be extremely skeptical of buying vitro meat. Maybe if people were more informed it could be a great success.

  9. I think that the idea of in vitro meat is a great one. I'm not sure if the process is ready yet but with proper testing growing meat could solve many problems. First of all by growing meat we would be able to make it readily available to everyone which would greatly reduce the price. With a cheap source of protein we could greatly reduce the hunger problem that plagues much of the world. Also we would be able to stop using traditional forms of raising meat which would put an end to what many see as animal cruelty.


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