Will In Vitro Meat Ever Be In Vogue?
As reported by Reuters back in mid-November and reverberated with cynical incertitude through the proper tech blogger channels, Dutch scientists claim to be within months of successfully generating what they say will be an edible lab-grown meat substitute. Test phase versions have been tasted and the reviews haven't been good.Despite these ostensible setbacks, researchers are adamant that the $4 million the Dutch government has so far invested into the development of in vitro meat will pay off in the form of a hamburger-like product that looks and tastes like the real thing. But, as the echoing bloggers were quick to point out, there's a major catch: the soon-to-be-released lab burger will come with a price tag of $350,000.
Then there's also the talk of the fact that it's the genetic material of mice that's initially used for the tissue development, which is in turn placed in a series of layers by-hand until a substance likened to ground beef or pork is developed. Afterward, as we're casually informed in the original Reuters article, lab-formulated blood must be injected into the tissue for color and realism, while jolts of electricity replicate exercise to keep the texture firm and meat-like. All for what so far is described as unsatisfactory, and nowhere near as tasty as real meat by those who have tried it.
But, as head researcher Mark Post pointed out, the product still lacks all efforts to recreate the particular taste sensations of real meat - a part of the development that will be saved for last. For now it's seemingly all about getting the texture right.
Yet the question remains whether or not people will embrace lab-made meat, even if the evidence is overwhelming that our reliance on livestock for human dietary needs is unsustainable. Innate suspicions and deep curiosity about non-living yet seemingly alive entities and concepts is a recognized part of our psyche as a species. Even if in vitro meat goes on to become utterly interchangeable with real meat as far as taste is concerned, will people actually eat it?Continued on the next page