Friday, September 25, 2009

In Vitro Meat

"A controversial cooker that 'grows' meat and fish by heating animal cells in your kitchen claimed first prize in the Electrolux design competition tonight.
The invention, called Cocoon, could develop food with the make-up and nutrients of real meat.
Mr Hederstierna, 27, said: 'This will create 100 per cent pure meat without the need for animals to be killed and with no risk of contamination. It will change everything.'

A food generator is a popular concept in science fiction programmes such as Star Trek.
Swedish industrial design student Rickard Hederstierna, 27, said it could tackle food shortages as the world's population spirals.
And the glass cooker, which would heat pre-mixed food packets containing muscle cells, oxygen and nutrients, would put an end to messy and time-consuming preparation.
Competition panelist David Fisher, design director of consultantsSeymourpowell, described the invention as 'controversial'"

I'd agree wholeheartedly with that assessment.

The idea of growing conveyor belt meat is being sold as a viable source of protein when food shortages get acute, which hasn't exactly happened yet, but mismanagement and the frankenfood industry are working on that. Proponents are claiming the process is identical to cultured foods we grow and already consume like cheese and beer. They also cite the inhumanity of current factory slaughterhouses. They're big on the food safety issue, where lab meat won't make you sick from contamination. Valid points all, really.

But consider the process involved to actually grow meat, as envisioned by VegNews:

"At a massive factory in a major American megalopolis, technicians encased in hermetically sealed biosuits peer through their glass facemasks at what looks like a gigantic inkjet printer, ten meters wide. They monitor the bioprinter's functions as the elongated rotating head moves back and forth with a staccato ring across a flat plastic sheet, evenly distributing muscle and fat cells through thousands of tiny nozzle openings.

After attaching the 200-square-foot sheet, slick with living cell nodes, to a tubular metal framework, workers load it onto the bed of a customized electric truck and transport it to an enormous humming bioreactor in another section of the factory. They glance at their reflections in the tank's stainless steel hull as the foreman enters the security code into an embedded keypad. A set of garage-sized hydraulic doors slides open at the top, exhaling pressurized air and the pungent fumes of fermented fungi. The cellular sheet is submersed into the bioreactor's vat of warm nutrient soup, where the cells germinate in vitro for several weeks and grow firmer as long-armed mechanical stretchers "exercise" them into muscle. Workers at nearby bioreactors remove meatsheets that have matured, stacking them one on top of another to construct a thick slab of flesh. Finally, the room-sized hunk of muscle is fed into a large processor that minces and reshapes it into nuggets, patties and sausage links, which are packaged and shipped out to supermarkets and restaurants throughout the region and the world."

And that's the crux of the matter. It's too sterile, one step too far from nature. This process is going to be pushed by the very forces that are destroying our natural connection to our physical environment, in order to replace it with their artificial creation, for a fee of course. Lab meat will be forced down our gullets by the same mindset that's demanding the planet use suicide seeds with terminator genes, that forces farmers to return year after year to buy new seeds instead of saving them from previous crops. It's a way for the corporations to insinuate themselves yet again between us and self determination to force us to pay for what we could be doing for ourselves. I'm way too 'hands on' in my life to embrace this artificiality.

Maybe Big Fast Food was getting us prepped for all this. Replace the shredded, reformed and deep fried animal parts with factory goo and the mouthbreather who orders his McNuggets won't even know the difference.


Blogger Irish4Palestine said...

This is just not right. I may be forced to become a vegetarian ;o)

25/9/09 6:52 AM  
Blogger Devin said...

WOW-what a grossout -I agree completely with your last two paragraphs/sentences -this is just wrong. I am pretty much a vegetarian now -although I know that is not something you are supposed to be 80 percent of the time-but wouldnt mind giving all of it up-Id miss my eggs if I have to give those up-I have never seen how people could stomach Mcdonald's-man their shit tastes like cardboard-i stopped eating fastfood long ago-but if there is a worse fast place than Mcdonalds I sure do not want to know them!! best as always to you and the Mrs and all who stop by here-thanks so much for keeping us informed!!

25/9/09 3:48 PM  
Blogger Devin said...

Thanks for all of your other stories too! I got a kick out of Khadafy's Bad Girl/Riot Grrl :-) Amazon squad and the Winslow festival -Boobus Ameircanus was very appropriate-best to you as always!!

25/9/09 4:04 PM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

Irish, with all the ugliness coming down the pike I would tend to think we're all going to become opportunivores. But quivering laboratory goo ranks quite a bit lower than raw insects, IMHO.

Devin, I'm actually thinking of going up to Winslow to catch all the excitement :)

25/9/09 6:01 PM  
Blogger Irish4Palestine said...


I could exist on Fritos, if I could get them here ;o) I once visited the US many years ago and fell in love with the curly crunchy little yellow treasures, we dont have them here. Once I paid 26 American dollars to get some shipped to me, last year, when I stayed up all night to watch the US elections and celebrate the end of Bush. The Fritos were money well spent LOL

26/9/09 5:47 AM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

I'll send some to you if you give me the information!
(But I've got to let you know, Fritos have so much oil in them that they'll burn like little candles, so much so that campers use them as fire starters!)
Let me know at

26/9/09 10:01 PM  

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