Monday, October 3, 2016

PK Synopsis on Cultured Meat

"Meet Cultured Meat: the other low hanging fruit"

The Problem: Meat production causes as much GHG production as automobiles.  It destroys our forests, pollutes our water and makes us fat.  Oh yeah, and meat production is mean, too.  Yet, meat production is set to increase by 50% before 2030.

Possible Solutions
?  People refuse to eat less meat and India and China are eating  more bovine musculus than ever. A meat tax won't work because of the farm lobby and  land intensive organic/"happy" meat is even worse for climate change than factory farms.

Meet Cultured Meat: Cultured meat, often referred to as in vitro meat or vat meat, is a way of growing meat through the  use of tissue engineering in clean laboratories, rather than on farm.  Because it's made in a lab it can be low in fat as you want.  Also, there is a lower risk of the food borne illness that are prevalent in factory farms.  It's cleaner for water and air too, and compared to conventional meat production, emits less GHG by 80% and  60% less water pollution.  Cultured meat is better for your heart and well, for the animals' hearts, too. 

So what's the catch?  The biggest problem is the lack of  R & D funding, which all goes to the well-connected livestock industry.  The other problem is that  people think cultured meat is gross.  For me, it's a matter of perspective.  Once I take a look at this picture of the Baconator and the man who ate one too many of said Baconators, all of a sudden cultured meat doesn't seem too bad.

Cowgate-the Swiftboating of Livestock's Long Shadow

The world took notice when the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that livestock accoutned for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Their report, entitled, Livestock's Long Shadow, affected myself and many other individuals. It made us realize the impact our food choices have on the environment and our health.

I have to admit that my world was a little bit shaken up after reading news articles about the so-called CowGate following a paper presentation by Dr. Mitloehner. Dr. Mitloehner criticized Livestock's Long Shadow because it performed a Life Cycle Assessment of the environmental impact of livestock production. However, in it's comparison to other industries, the UN didn't consider the other aspects of other industries. That's a good point. Perhaps, the UN miscalculated the overall percentage of global GHG attributable to livestock (although others as prominant as former World Bank scientists have found that the UN way UNDERESTIMATED the impact of livestock--and that livestock is responsible for around half of all GHG emissions.)

As Livestock's Long Shadow is central to my work, I dropped everything to look into the validity of Dr. Mitloehner's claims.

However, Dr. Mitloehner then concluded that reducing consumption of meat and dairy wouldn't reduce GHG emissions. Obviously, Dr. Mitloehner's "findings" are more suspect than the report his is criticizing.

 While Dr. Mitloehner was correct in pointing out the UN FOA unfairly performed a LCA of livestock and not other industries, the press release concerning the ACS presentation and the media coverage has drawn conclusions that are erroneous and very dangerous.

After looking into the matter, I found that Dr. Mitlohner's article arose out of a 2007 beef industry survey.  The survery  found that consumers were actually switching away from meat because of GHG emissions. Well, you can imagine how this scared the crap out of the livestock industry.

In response, the National Beef Cattlemen's Association started a PR campaign in which down home farmers told the story of how farmer's are the true conservationists.  Oh yeah and they bought themselves some "experts" too.
  • Dr. Mitloehner’s ACS press release about “Clearing the Air” was misleading and flawed
    • It failed to consider
      •  the land use implications of livestock production
      • that the US is the biggest importer of grass fed beef, and is the leading cause of deforestation in Brazil and Argentina, as well as GHG emissions problem in Australia and New Zealand.
    • It was inconsistent with previous presentation on same paper which concluded
      • Livestock is a “dominant contributor” in developing countries
      • The significant change that affects carbon levels in the United States is the conversion of agricultural lands to development, which reduces land available for carbon sequestration
  • History of  Cowgate, “Clearing the Air”
    • Prior to 2005, no beef industry surveys showed consumer concern
    • In 2007, following the release of Livestock’s Long Shadow (LLS), the beef industry group National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was shook up by reports that consumers were willing to consume less beef due to concerns about GHG emissions
    • In 2008, the NBCA made a concerted effort to counter bad publicity with internet campaigns, and decided to commission research that would counter the negative publicity
    • In Jan 2009, the NCBA released a fact sheet to counter the findings of LLS
    • In May 2009, NBCA VP of Issues Management, Rick McCarty told the beef industry that newly commissioned research out of UC Davis would counteract the bad publicity they had received following LLS
    • October 2009, UC Davis researcher Dr. Mitloehner releases his study, “Clearing the Air” which criticizes LLS. The study was funded by the NBCA (Check-off funds).
    • Nov 2009- Dr. Mitloehner  writes an article for California Cattlemen Magazine that closely tracks the fact sheet produced by the NBCA
    • Nov. 2009 - As a result of the attacks on the relevance of LLS to the USA, beef industry lobbyists were able to successfully exempt themselves from key aspects of mandatory GHG emissions disclosure.  The beef lobby also ensured that they would not be subject to carbons tax for their part in GHG emissions.
    • March 2010- Dr. Mitloehner  presents “Clearing the Air” with misleading sound bites that criticize LLS.  He asserts without support that reducing meat consumption will not reduce GHG emissions.
    • Hundreds of media outlets and blogs cover the report, dubbing the paper Cowgate, and stating that Dr. Mitloehner work entirely discredits LLS, even though “Clearing the Air” made no such conclusions.
    • Dr. Mitloehner and UC Davis have received millions in funding from industry groups.
      • Dr. Mitloehner received direct funding in the amount of $730,000 in recent years from livestock industry groups. 
      • UC Davis’ agriculture emissions program is reliant upon industry funding as well, as his coauthor of many of his studies has also received $420,000 from industry groups to fund air emissions research.
      • He failed to disclose many of the grants on his UC Davis grant disclosure page, including grants from California Dairy Farmers, California Cattlemen Assoc. & California Feeder Council and Eli Lilly-Elanco.
      • Dr. Mitloehner also receives millions of dollars in funding from the USDA, which represents the interests of the beef and dairy industry.
      • Dr. Mitloehner’s industry funded research has also been beneficial in the past.  He  received a $500,000 from Ag Air Research Council, which is funded by the National Pork Producers Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers, and Tyson Foods.
      • The study resulted in a finding that dairy cows released half the emissions as was previously thought.
    • Dr. Mitloehner’s Press Release is Self-Serving
      • Dr. Mitloehner asserted that reducing meat and dairy consumption won’t reduce GHG emissions.  However, his research is funded by the beef and dairy industries.
      • Dr. Mitloehner’s only solution for reducing GHG emissions is increased funding of the type of research that he is performing.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bloomberg Covers Cultured Meat

Interesting identical articles published in and Business Week that gives a nice little background of in vitro cultured meat.  As you can tell from the title, Meatloaf From a Petri Dish Is Innovator’s Goal for the Masses, the article focuses on Jason Matheny's role in bringing cultured meat to the masses.

I learned a few things that may be interesting to you:

1.  Bloomberg reports that cultured meat is making great technological progress:
"Mark Post, a professor of tissue engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, may be close to realizing New Harvest’s vision. Post’s lab is producing 2-millimeter-thick strips that are almost an inch long and a quarter-inch wide. Jam enough of them together, and you have a meal. "
2.  Livestock's Long Shadow, a UN study that found that 18% of all GHG emissions are caused by livestock production, was instrumental in procuring funding for cultured meat research in Denmark. (Read full study here.)  This just reaffirms how connected the goals of cultured meat and environmentalism are, as well as why it is important that agribusiness not be allowed to discredit the environmental impact of livestock production.
"In response to the environmental threats, the Netherlands is funding a national effort to develop so-called cultured meat from laboratories"
3. Various terms were used through the article for 'cultured meat'.  The article  first two are descriptions rather than names: 'meat from petri dishes' and " this process is like (growing) hydroponic vegetables, in a way.”  The term cultured meat is used, without explaining that this is the name for it, and then in vitro chicken is also used, without an explanation of what in vitro chicken is.   I've never seen an article with such inconsistent nomenclature.  Odd, no?

4.    The article included what looks like a picture of cultured meat.  The meat was much larger than I have ever seen.  Here is the photo:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cultured Cat Food? Now, that's culture!

The Cat Food Recipes Blog discussed an interesting application for in vitro cultured meat: food for your companion animal.  It has often been suggest that the taste and consistency of cultured meat will be the most important factor in consumer acceptance of cultured meat.  A recent Instute for Engineering Technology articles writes that without a way to get cultured meat cells to grow together "all you have is a meat-flavoured jelly with all the resistance of an oyster."  That doesn't sound very tasty.

However, if you have ever tasted pet food, such a lack of texture of the current cultured meat might actually be a plus for pet food. 

This also touches on the debate of whether it is ethical to feed animal products to your pet.   I had a conversation about this with one of my ardent vegan friends.  She feeds animal-based food to her cat and says that she doesn't want to force her eating habits on others.   Others (like me) don't think there is anything wrong with bringing up a companion animal (or a young child for that matter) on a healthy, vegetarian diet. (Check out veggiepets!)   Cultured meat does raise some ethical issues of its own for some vegetarians.  But for many others, this is yet another way that cultured meat may help modern persons be more ethical.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to Make Social Policy Happen in the Real World

Renowned environmental law scholar James Salzar from Duke and Yale's Douglas A. Kysar wrote an interesting new article, "Harnessing the Power of Information for the Next Generation of Environmental Law."  The authors discuss a tidy, academic version of how environmental regulation takes place.  Then they contrast this tidy model with Phillip Morris' game plan for affecting legislative decisions.  By all accounts, Phillip Morris has been very effective in using various channels of information to shape tobacco public policy.  

Just like the tobacco industry, we've seen how effective big agribusiness has been in shaping agricultural policy in the past.  (Also see Prof. Ruhl's article- Farms, Their Harms and Environmental Law)

The authors relate this to the current climate change debate and how there is the possibility that this model can be used to distort the information about climate change. A very recent  example of this is Cowgate- National Cattlemen's Beef Association paid for a report that purported to find that beef consumption doesn't affect GHG emissions.(Click here for analysis and background).

Similarly, the Phillip Morris model has applications for the livestock industry, environmentalists, animal activists and other cultured meat enthusiasts who wish to shape environmental and agricultural policy.  I say -- "use it or lose it." If you don't want your side to "lose"-- you have to *ALL* the tools to affect positive legislative decisions. As Orlando's best DUI attorney, I believe that it is important to utilize all the tools at one's disposal. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Smart Balanced" Meat: introducing the world's first low fat beef

 Killer Meat
All around the world, cigarette makers are required carry labels such as the one in the picture on the right. Although meat may kill more people than cigarettes, no such label is required on meat--yet the World Health Organization found that diseases related to the over-consumption of meat, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, cause one-third of all deaths world-wide.

Scientists at the National Cancer Institute report (click here for pdf) those who eat 5 ounces of meat a day are 30% more likely to contract cancer or heart disease than  those who eat 2/3 oz of meat per day.  That's a big risk to take!

Get Lean with Cultured Meat?
While not totally alleviating health risks of meat consumption, cultured meat may be able to provide leaner and more balanced meat.  There are three main nutritional benefits to cultured meat production concerning fat production.

Benefit #1- Low Fat Cultured Meat
First, cultured meat will allow producers to control the fat content of the meat because the product would initially be pure muscle tissue.  So fat will be added for taste in any amount desired.   In vitro cultured beef could have the fat content of chicken or salmon.  Naturally, not all consumers will choose ground beef  with low fat content, so this health benefit would be limited by consumer choices.  But, the trend in reducing beef consumption in favor of poultry consumption shows that many consumers would be interested in a healthier beef product.

Benefit #2- “Smart Balanced” Meat
Secondly, even cultured meat that has the same total fat content, has the nutritional benefit of   providing meat that  balances the types of good with bad unsaturated fats.    Due to unnatural corn fed diets (see King Corn) the majority of beef from livestock has 20 times more “bad” omega 6 fatty acids than do grain fed
cows or cows found in the wild. (For more on Omega acids and livestock, click here)   Unlike traditional methods, which provide imbalanced  fat content due to livestock feeding,  cultured meat production will allow production of meat with a  nutritiously advantageous balance of fats.   So-called “beneficial” fats, such as Omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids, found naturally in fish oils and synthetically in Smart Balance, could be introduced while keeping saturated fats to the minimum.   This is a tremendous health benefit!

 Benefit #3-  Diet Meat?
Finally, one suggested method of cultured meat production allows for consumption of meat that is relatively high in fat, but is not fattening.   Dr. Mironov, one of the leaders in the field of cultured meat, believes that consumers will be most be interested in the health benefits of cultured meat.   He suggests that chitosan should be used in the production of cultured meat.   Chitosan  is edible and would remain in the final meat product.   Chitosan  could absorb fat, but would not be digested. (Read more here)

My Thoughts
Personally, while I think the first two benefits are huge, this last benefit is a bit suspect to me.  One commenter remarked that chitosan reminded him of another fat free fatty food, P & G's short lived Olestra potato chips. As anyone can recall that idea ended up being a explosive disaster--literally.  Consumers of Olestra frequently complained of abdominal pain and sever cases of Montezuma's revenge.  Further, consumers weren't losing weight because they just ate more fatty foods to make up for the calories "saved" through eating olestra chips.

I think the lesson we can learn from olestra is that we consumers have to take responsibility for what we eat.  If cultured meat becomes a reality, it is imperative that cultured meat replace traditional meat, not be used to supplement our already dangerous eating habits.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet Cultured Meat: how do they make that stuff?


The most plausible method for cultured meat production is called the ‘scaffolding technique.’

 Here's how it works:

#1-  STARTING WITH STARTER CELLS - “Starter” cells from domestic animals such as cows or chickens are harvested through a biopsy and placed in very small cultures. (See Figure 1) 

 #2- SCAFFOLDS- The starter cells need a place to grown on.  These are called scaffolds.  (See Figure 2)  The scaffolds are biodegradable and can be made out of edible material such as collagen beads.

 #3 - STARTER + SCAFFOLD- The starter cells are then placed on the scaffolds (see Figure 3).

#4-  MAKING THE CELLS GROW- The scaffolds containing the cells would then be placed in a special type of vat called a bioreactor.  This is pretty similar to how beer or Quorn (soy chik nuggets) is made.
Once placed inside the bioreactor, the starter cells would be a nutritious (but delicious) soup called a growth medium.  (See Figure 4).   The growth medium contains a special mix of  nutrients which would provide natural ‘environmental cues’ that would tell the cells to grow.  (And they do grow-- it's a good thing that cells are so obedient!)

#5- SKINNY MEAT - The result is actual animal meat, but in the form of ultra-thin sheets of muscle cells.   The thin sheets would be vacuumed packed (see Figure 5)  and sent to a meat processing  facility in order to make a ground meat product, such as a hamburger.

#6 - YOU EAT YOUR BURGER-  I think you already know about this step.  (See Figure 6).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meet Cultured Meat: what's the difference between cloned meat and cultured meat?

 Growing meat with cultures in vitro is not the same thing as “cloning” meat.  Cloning meat typically involves the cloning of rDNA of prized cattle.  The cloned rDNA is then used to implant livestock such as a cow, pig or sheep when then give birth and are raised in the traditional fashion.  

While sometimes these concepts tend to grouped together, they are very different.  The FDA explicitly excluded cultured meat from its definition of cloning because  cultured meat only involves replication of cells in culture, not cloning of whole animals. 
Ranchers are cloning their prized cattle so that they can increase their meat yields.Unfortunately, cloning of cattle involves all the downsides of traditionally raised livestock (environmental harm, risk of food borne disease, etc).  One fact that many may be surprised to know is that most people have eaten cloned meat, they just don't know it.  I guess I should be more precise--you probably haven't eaten cloned meat just the offspring of cloned meat.  It would be too expensive to eat actual cloned meat, because it costs at least 15 grand to clone just one cow.
Because cultured meat will be grown in safe, clinical conditions, cultured meat has the possibility of reducing the environmental and health risks posed by cloned meat.  While cultured meat has critics of its own, conflation of the concepts is dangerous as the benefits and costs of the two types of biotechnologies differ greatly.

Below is a diagram showing how cultured meat is made.  For more information, you can read my post about how cultured meat is made.  You can also visit how stuff works for an interesting discussion (including videos) that show cultured meat is made.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Tasty is a Big Macracanthorhynchus?

All you broke Wall Street types, take note:  Buy Worm-Mart stock and fast!  Due to our insatiable desire for animal protein, veterinary parasitology professors William C. Campbell, George A. Conder and Alan A. Marchiondo, predict that the worm industry will be on the rise. Writing in Veterinary Parasitology, Aug. 2009, the profs predict that because beef is so expensive, hazardous to our health and bad for the environment- we may need to make our Big Macs out of worms.

"Some day an enticing plate of vermicelli will not just look like ‘‘little worms’’–but actually be little worms. Even better-- it might be big worms. Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus would seem to be a good candidate: fat and juicy—the new Big Mac. Phrases such as ‘I’m going out and eat worms’ and ‘opening up a can of worms’ would take on a new meaning." Click here for full article via Science Direct).

The only problem they say, is that unless people start accepting cultured meat, we won't be able to produce enough worms to keep up with the demand!

Ah, I think that's just what the Frankenmeat naysayers need- a little bit of perspective.  If  the many prognosticators are right, a cultured hamburger sounds a lot tastier than a Big Macracanthorhynchus!

P.S. For those of you who still insist that cultured meat is gross, here's a recipe telling you how to fry up some tasty worms.  You better act fast, before this guy eats em' all himself!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time Magazine Names 'Meat Farms' as One the 50 Best Inventions of 2009

So what if cultured meat wasn't invented in 2009? Time Magazine still listed in vitro cultured meat as one the 50 best inventions in its "Best Of" year-end issue. (Read it here.)

Time Magazine has broad definition of 'invention'-- the term also includes ' breakthrough ideas of the year' no matter what year an idea was technically invented. Breakthrough idea--  I can handle that.   It just goes to show what kind of traction the concept of guilt-free meat is getting. (Speaking of traction, I kind of liked the term, 'Meat Farming'-- I will add it to my list of possible names for cultured meat.)

Notably, Time allowed its readers to vote for the best invention.  As of this writing, 'Meat Farms' was ranked #29th-- just above 'Controller-Free Gaming.'  That's right, an invention that could single-handedly combat global warming, reduce epidemic influenzas and end animal suffering is just one notch above a solution to the Wii induced suffering known as [ahem] "Wiinjuries."  (Go ahead and click the link, laugh a Wii bit.  I'm not making this up.)

Do I sound bitter?  I'm not.  America, the brunt of Neil Postman's brutal critique Amusing Ourselves to Death, thinks cultured meat is a 'sexier' idea than Wiimoteless gaming.  That's a Winston Churchill-size victory in my book.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(Would) a Meat by Any Other Name Taste as Good?

Methinks, no. People might eat cultured meat, but they sure as heck won't eat Frankenmeat!

Romeo's ambivalence to nomenclature proves once and for all that NASA didn't fake the whole Shakespeare thing, because the writer of Romeo and Juliet obviously hasn't been exposed to the 5,000 marketing messages a day that we are forced to endure in this post-modern life.

Not counting Shakespeare, everybody knows that names matter (including  children).
But perhaps no one knows it better than Strategic Name, the brand naming company behind the Baconator. The Baconator is one of the company's proudest accomplishments. You gotta give 'em credit--despite its manifestly horrifying appearance--when the Baconator came out, people definitely noticed. Here's what Strategic Name says about the naming of the Baconator:

"America's freshest fast-food company wanted a provocative name for its signature cheeseburger--one that would appeal to younger males. The Baconator assumes the person of the epic Terminator character, and highlights the burger's essential ingredient, bacon, in a playful way. And just as the Terminator is a huge guy, The Baconator is a huge burger with plenty of beef and cheese in addition to the bacon."

Sheer genius. Wendy's sold 25 million Baconators in the first 8 weeks and it remains one of its top-selling products. If Strategic Name can sell a heart-attack on a plate (51 grams of fat, 60% more than the Bic Mac), surely we can find some way to sell a burger that is healthier, Greener, safer, and more ethical. Of course, there some uncertainty about whether being healthy, safe, ethical and environmentally-conscious is "attractive" to consumers.  But perhaps it is, with  green marketing's recent rise to prominence.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, here. When Stegeman or some other company does decide to put cultured meat on the market, I'm sure they'll hire a fancy marketing company like Strategic Name to come up with a tasty brand name.  Take for example, Quorn, which is made in a somewhat-similar manner as cultured meat. The makers of Quorn didn't call its product "mycoprotein foodstuff made from processed vat grown fungus."  Quorn sounds a wee bit more pleasant, doesn't it?

So cultured meat right now is more of a general concept, a general type of food, than an individual branded product. But general food concepts are susceptible to branding, too. For example, detractors of the U.S.'s predominant method of livestock production label it "factory farming" while the meat lobby/FDA/EPA refer to the method as "intensive farming practices" or "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations."

Likewise, "organic natural farms" and "grass-fed beef" sounds a lot better than "extensive farming," despite the fact that the latter name is indicative of the amount of land needed to produce its product. (U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization found that 70% of the Amazon had been deforestated to allow "grass-fed cattle" to graze. That's one reason why cultured meat is so necessary.)

So what about the topic of this blog? My first introduction to this food that I'm now referring to as as cultured meat was in a newspaper article that called it "Vat Meat." Talk about "Yuk factor!"

Proponents like Jason Matheny most often use the term 'cultured meat' in popular news sources, while scientists (including Jason Matheny) normally use the more technical, but cumbersome term, "in vitro cultured meat" in their scholarly articles. (Although, Jason Matheny has recently been calling it hydroponic meat-- but he's been using it more as a way to describe how clean the process can be, as opposed to naming it.)

So what's the most popular? A quick Google search reveals that the term "in vitro meat" dominates the competition in internet references:

1,070,000 - "in vitro meat"
34,000 - "cultured meat"
18,000 - "vat meat"
12,000- "lab grown meat"
10,000 - "laboratory meat"
9,000 - "in vitro cultured meat"
6,000- "schmeat"
2,500- "hydroponic meat"

(Note: I left out search terms that may refer to both cultured meat and another product. Notably, artificial meat, which may refer to meat replacements like Quorn, as well as engineered meat and Frankenmeat, which normally refer to genetically modified meat in general.)

I think we can all agree that a tasty name will make consumers more open to the future of meat.  So that naturally leads to the question(s) of the day. I was going to wait a few *days*--when this blog had *millions* of readers--but I just can't wait to ask:

What do you think the best name is?
Can you come up with a better name?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can You Be Both "Green" and a Meat Eater?

Not unless you're eating cultured meat.

While driving a Hummer will cause you to get dirty looks pretty much anywhere, eating meat is only passé in Portland or San Francisco. But it seems that is starting to change.

 Scientists, professors, informed individuals, the news media are starting to all pay attention to the environmental impact of our food choices on the environment.

Carnegie Melon's Christopher Weber tells how giving up meat and dairy just one day a week would be the equivalent of driving 1,500 fewer miles a year.  Read his full report here, a brief blog on Earth Sky here or listen to his 90 sec Earth Sky interview here:

(But we've still got a lot of work to do, because it takes two vegans to make up for every one Hummer driver.) 

Here are some more recent studies:
A widely touted 2006 United Nations study found that livestock were responsible for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions. The study is highly regarded and, spanning over 300 pages, is extremely comprehensive. At the same time, it is filled with easy to read language, pictures and helpful charts. You may find a table of contents with individual pdfs on relevant sections here, or you may download the complete pdf here.

This month, a study by two World Bank scientists examined the UN's study's result and found that it didn't take into the affect of the deforestation that occurs due to meat production, and the CO2 expiration of the billions of livestock. Taking these and other factors into account, the study concluded that the number was 51%!

This year, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency found that reducing world intake of meat by about 40% would save $20 trillion on the costs of reducing GHG emissions!

A newly minted study by Hanna Tuomisto at the University of Oxford predicts that cultured meat will eat will likely reduce green house gas emissions by 80%, use 30-60% less energy (depending on the type of meat), 98% less land and between 90-98% less water.

The In Vitro Meat Consortium has a good summary on how how cultured meat can help mitigate much of the catastrophic harm that meat production has on the environment.
Read it here.

For more information on meat's impact on the environment read this interesting article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Daily Kos covers Cultured Meat

Front page pro- cultured meat post on Daily Kos concerning cultured meat. The Kos post quoted an amazing article in H+ magazine entitled: 8 Ways that In Vitro Meat Will Change Our Lives. This is one of the better article I've read, so please read it, if you haven't yet.

The Kos blog highlighted what could probably be two of the biggest advantages of cultured meat: environmental benefits and health benefits.

I've read a number of online articles and the comments are invariably similar. Most people just found the idea gross. As Jason Matheny has often pointed out, if people knew where their sausage, ground beef, hot dog and chicken nuggets came from, they'd eagerly line up behind cultured meat: “What we’re talking about is hydroponic meat that would be the cleanest meat ever produced,” said Mr. Matheny. “That’s far preferable to how our meat is produced now: 10,000 animals crammed into a metal shed, pumped full of drugs and living in their own waste.”

A commentor named Otto summed up my concerns about most of the comments: "It's pretty funny to read people so quickly dismiss an idea like this. It's pretty much the direction we are going to be forced to go if we insist on continuing with diets that are so meat protein filled."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

(Don't) Leave It to Cleaver

Well, that was the most humorous blog title I could come up with on the spot. This is a blog after all. I think the rules of blogging mandate that one not spend too much time
being clever revising, lest one sound inauthentic.

All of this is to say that writing about cultured meat need not be boring. Case in point: Due to spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter, I almost choked on the delicious "Chickie-nobs" I was eating when I read The Schtory Of Schmeat: Vladimir Mironov's Lab-Grown Chicken. Stephanie Pulford tells the back story of cultured meat in an entertaining fashion. I highly recommend checking it out for content and the cleverness.

What Can Geeks Do to Help Bring About A Culture of Cultured Meat?

If you'd like to help make cultured meat a reality,, is a resource for 'technology designers, companies, and animal rights and welfare activists to promote" cultured meat.

The site discusses the ways that technologies spread and ways that you can help. He relies heavily on the concept of the 'stickiness' of an idea. I haven't read the articles cited, but I have read Made to Stick. Made to Stick discusses ways to help people reminder the ideas that we tell them. If not the best, it's one of the best 'how to improve' books I've ever read. I devoured it in hours. If you haven't read the book, I highly suggest you watch this slide show or read it immediately.

Blog header image by Dan Salamanunder, licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0.