Trading the Pasture for a Petri Dish? Where’s the Beef?

fake cowSergey Brin, co-founder of Google, funded the production of the world’s first lab-grown hamburger aka synthetic beef. Brin said that he was moved to invest in the technology for “animal welfare reasons”.  I think Brin needs to go vegan and give more consideration to the welfare of the human species.

Brin’s funding was used by a team of scientists led by physiologist Dr Mark Post at Maastricht University (The Netherlands).   This team set out  to grow 20,000 muscle fibers from the stem cells of  cows over the course of three months.  These fibers were extracted from individual culture wells and then pressed together to form “hamburger”.  The objective is to “create meat that is biologically identical to beef” but grown in a lab rather than raised in a field.  I can think of a few things to call this scientific concoction and “hamburger” is NOT on the list.   Have we not learned our lesson about “fake food” yet?

Dr. Post, team leader and physiologist for this project says:

“Cows are very inefficient, they require 100g of vegetable protein to produce only 15g of edible animal protein,” Dr Post told the Guardian before the event. “So we need to feed the cows a lot so that we can feed ourselves. We lose a lot of food that way. [With cultured meat] we can make it more efficient because we have all the variables under control. We don’t need to kill the cow and it doesn’t [produce] any methane.”

The longer I live the stranger the world gets.  Call me old-fashioned but I’m going to keep pushing locally grown (and raised) food and healthy, environmentally friendly water no matter what concoctions they come up with.

I’ll be thinking of Brin every time I eat a sirloin steak that came from one of those “inefficient” cows.  Sue me.



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