Burgers Made From Lab-Grown Meat

Photo: dweekly (CC)

Photo: dweekly (CC)

I know — yuk! — but chances are airlines and other purveyors of gross burgers like the one at right won’t have any qualms about using synthetic meat if the price is lower than real meat. Pallab Ghosh reports for BBC News:

Dutch scientists have used stem cells to create strips of muscle tissue with the aim of producing the first lab-grown hamburger later this year.

The aim of the research is to develop a more efficient way of producing meat than rearing animals.

At a major science meeting in Canada, Prof Mark Post said synthetic meat could reduce the environmental footprint of meat by up to 60%.

“We would gain a tremendous amount in terms of resources,” he said.

Professor Post’s group at Maastricht University in the Netherlands has grown small pieces of muscle about 2cm long, 1cm wide and about a mm thick.

They are off-white and resemble strips of calamari in appearance. These strips will be mixed with blood and artificially grown fat to produce a hamburger by the autumn.

The cost of producing the hamburger will be £200,000 but Professor Post says that once the principle has been demonstrated, production techniques will be improved and costs will come down…

[continues at BBC News]


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74 Comments on "Burgers Made From Lab-Grown Meat"

  1. Jin The Ninja | Feb 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm |

     abhorrent. ab bloody horrent. this is industrial poison-food on another scale.

  2. JohnFrancisBittrich | Feb 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm |

    I am totally in favor of this. Rearing meat for food is insanely damaging to our environment and a waste of perfectly good land and grain, not to mention the whole “meat is murder” aspect. This is great news for anyone who is vegetarian purely for moral (non-health) reasons.

    • rileyrifle | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

       Vegetarianism would be far harder on the planet than the current situation is. The conventional way to grow food now is non-sustainable. (Beyond organic is the way to go.) Entomophagy is probably the most sustainable path. It’s cheap and easy to raise insects for food (not to mention healthy), however most people are too squeamish to even entertain that notion. People who are vegetarian for moral reasons are either ignorant or cruel; if one can admit that animals have feelings, they must also admit that plants do as well.

  3. On the one hand this would reduce dependence on factory farms. On the other hand, its fucking gross. I feel torn. My heart says cheer it on because it would mean, theoretically, less mammals as machines. But my brain says that is poison and that will kill you. This just seems like a recipe for a zombie apocalypse.

  4. Hadrian999 | Feb 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm |

    maybe we should come to the realization that population growth needs to be ended instead of concocting freaky new ways to stretch the carrying capacity of the planet

    • Mr Willow | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

      You mean exercise self-restraint and consider the possibility that natural resources are finite, especially if we consume the renewable ones faster than they can replenish themselves? 

      Ha! We only know how to circumvent problems, not solve them. 

      *Fingers crossed for moon-colonies*

      • Jin The Ninja | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

         or terra-forming!!

        • Mr Willow | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

          One step at a time. . . 

        • Anarchy Pony | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

          Well maybe Mars, and only hypothetically, no one knows if it really could be done. The moon does not have the necessary resources or elements for terra-forming. Of course even if space colonization was a realistic possibility, it would in no way solve the problems of an exponentially growing economy or human population. 

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm |

            of course i agree, but the sci fi nerd in me has quite an active imagination.

          • Anarchy Pony | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

            Ever read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy? Great series about colonizing and terra-forming mars. Lot’s of social commentary and from a more or less pro anarchist perspective. 

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 20, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

            embarassingly i have never got into KSR, but i should and will.

          • Anarchy Pony | Feb 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm |

            If nothing else, at least the Mars Trilogy, usually considered his best work.

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

            i read about him or his interview (i can’t remember which) in the anarchist sci fi e-zine. I’ve always been a big ursula le guin fan and i like china mieville also (in terms of left/anarcho-fiction).

          • Once upon a time going to the moon was only sci fi, robots, anti matter, pretty much everything we have today that’s technologically advanced was once just sci fi, so I think the distant future holds some amazing things for the human race (if we get there that is).

          • Mr Willow | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm |

            Of course even if space colonization was a realistic possibility, it would in no way solve the problems of an exponentially growing economy or human population.

            The point is that we feel like it’s solving the problems. 

            As long as perception is such that all is well, you have no reason to worry.

          • Anarchy Pony | Feb 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

            Well that seems to be about what the establishment offers us.

      • SpaceX is slated to launch the first commercial rocket to dock with ISS this April.  They eventually plan to land on the Moon by as early as 2021.  I wish SpaceX the best of luck resupply missions of the ISS.

    • I’d rather eat lab-grown meat than something I had to kill an animal for. 

  5. as long as I can get some more cheese than that I’ll chomp on a placenta burger..my question is, who decides the freshness date?

  6. How about we cull the human population to, say 50 million. Whammo! There’s enough food to feed us for a long time provided we store it properly! If meat is meat is meat then who cares where it came from.
    Also we should let Monsanto control the meat supply too.

  7. I’m completely in favor of In Vitro meat. There’s a guy named Jason Silva who has a video on it 

    I don’t know why the lead in was so negative. The article itself seems rather positive.

  8. In-vitro meat poses an interesting challenge to some people:  in my travels through the internet I’ve encountered MANY people who are (a) vegetarian for moral reasons… and yet (b) anarchist and vehemently opposed to things like GMO’s, genetic modification and chemically-enhanced foods.  Will they support in-vitro meat, even if they don’t eat it themselves, in order to reduce the amount of animal suffering?  Or will they reject it, declare it “transhumanist, New World Order science”, and allow the suffering to continue?

    • False dilemma!

    • Lasse Hansen | Feb 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm |

      I don’t see how Transhumanism and Anarchism cancel out eachother, I consider my self both, from a philosophical standpoint, and I think the only way anarchism is ever gonna be a plausible option, is if we embrace the notion of improving ourselves through technology. Anarchism is something we transcend to, not something we go back to. Alot of people tend to forget that.

      • Right… there are many kinds of “anarchists”:  the kind I see frequently on the web, on sites like disinfo, are the Alex-Jones-Jesse-Ventura-oh-my-god-the-transhumanists-are-killing-us-with-chemtrails-and-genetic-engineering-and-911-was-an-inside-job variety.  When I wrote “anarchist”, that’s the kind I was referring to… and MANY of those are vegetarian.

        • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 7:12 am |

          again those aren’t anarchists, and people who reject industrial food production do so for a variety of reasons, vegetarianism being only one.

          • I didn’t say “if X is vegetarian, then X is vegetarian for moral reasons”.  Nor did I imply it.

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 11:20 am |

            You sort of did, and you also implied anarchists are linked to alex jones.

          • I DID NOT! If I write “vegetarian for moral reasons”, that implies nothing about whether all vegetarians are vegetarian for moral reasons… nor does it insinuate such a claim!

            And I clarified my use of the word “anarchist” in the context of this discussion — my intended use of the term is narrow, and specific to certain followers of conspiracies (some of which include fantasies about transhumanists being in collusion with big government, New World Order elites). Furthermore, I added other discriptors (minimal government; constitutionalist), of OTHER TYPES OF INDIVIDUALS (not anarchists) who have similar conspiracy-minded beliefs.

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

            the Alex Jones/NWO set are libertarians and paleo-cons.

            Anarchists are on the radical left- and many critiques of America and the economy are somewhat parallel to conspiracy theories- it’s simply because there exists propganda and consumerism to buy a person’s soul into believing the status quo.

      • AND… I would include the descriptors “constustionalist” and “limited-government” as well as “anarchist”.  And again, I mean the sub-variety of these that are fans of Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura, and opposed to most transhumanist ideas.

        • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 7:11 am |

           people who like and/or follow alex jones are not anarchists in any meaningful way. they are libertarian but they fall on the opposite end of the spectrum.

          i’m not a ‘moral’ vegetarian, but am opposed to GMOs, pesticides, factory farming, and monoculture.

          • I think they would say “we’re beyond labels”.  They don’t fit in the “Tea Party” side of libertarianism, despite boosting for many Tea Party leaders.  And they aren’t Cato-Institute and Reason-magazine-reading Libertarians.  They aren’t Libertarians in the old use of the term (roots in France and England).  They aren’t techo-optimist libertarians in the mold of Peter Thiel and his ilk.  If they are libertarian, they belong to their own special wing, that includes wingnuts like Luke Rudkowski, who, as far as I can tell, is a conspiracy-spreading anarchist.  Now he may call himself something different, and he may make mention of the Constitution ever now and then, like putting tinsel on a tree; but if he’s really somehow a Libertarian, he could have fooled me.

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |

            You have described libertarians. Do you KNOW what an anarchist is?

            An anarchist would not raise the issue of the constitution- anarchists are opposed to state and capital and hierarchy in general.

            I think you’re mis directing the discussion based upon your strange ideological characterisations of right libertarians.
            Think of (right) libertarianism like x’tianity, there are lots of different flavours but the textual and mythological basis are derived from a common point.

            The same is true of any political XY spectrum ideology.

          • Reread what I wrote: he may talk of the constitution like tinsel on a tree (meaning he just thinks it sounds good; he doesn’t really take it seriously), but in truth he is a conspiracy-spreading anarchist. That means:

            1. What he is and says he is are not identical.

            2. By using the phrase “conspiracy-spreading anarchist” I do not mean that all anarchists are conspiracy-spreaders, only that he is BOTH a conspiracy-spreader AND an anarchist.

            3. If one speaks favorably about the Constitution, that does not imply that one actually believes in it.

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

            one is only an anarchist if one subscribes to the beliefs contained within it’s traditions and discourse. you are creating a new defintion for ‘anarchist’ when he is obviously not one.

          • Calypso_1 | Feb 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

            or just using the commonly held rebranding of miscreant rable rouser. : )

          • Ok, I’ll leave it at that.  

            I will say, though, that I used to use the term “anarchist” differently.  I own (somewhere in my parent’s house) an Emma Goldman coloring book that tells of her life story, and the history of anarchism in America circa 1900 or thereabouts.  And I’ve read countless books on the subject, including a history of anarchist literature (I have an anthology of anarchist literature that I bought at a Marxist-Leninist bookstore near Haight-Ashbury).  

            Since spending a great deal of time studying transhumanism, I’ve come to look at libertarianism (of the Reason mag. sort) — which is practiced by a great many transhumanists — in a different light.  I used to view it with disdain (I have progressive-liberal roots); and now I try to avoid writing anything negative about it.  Furthermore, as you rightly point out, there IS another side to libertarianism.  Noam Chomsky, for instance, calls himself a “libertarian”; or, more precisely, has said that he follows libertarian principles (in an older sense of the term than is widely used today).

            So what to call Alex Jones followers?  Is there a better term than “right wing libertarian”?  Tea-Partiers?  (I don’t think they are that).  Give me an answer that doesn’t involve “libertarian”. 

          • Calypso_1 | Feb 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm |


          • Hmmm..  sounds too made-up.  I think I’ll just avoid writing anything using the words “anarchist” and “libertarian”. 

            Incidentally, for those reading this (who might think, wrongly, that I have a negative view of anarchists in general), here is a posting of mine from some weeks ago where I mention libertarians and anarchists:


            And, here is a posting where I discuss my political views (and other things besides):


            Skip down to where it says “submitted by star0”.

          • Calypso_1 | Feb 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

            I have oft thought that the domain of these ideas, libertarianism/anarchism, could be best defined as swinging so far right and so far left that they meet in the middle again.  You know their histories as bearing this out. Instead of drawing again the same divisions that have occupied the previous generation is not time to look at the common origin of such ideas which is the legitimacy of the state?  Is that not what we are looking at fundamentally?  Let us ride the gyre to a higher orbit.  Instead of allowing Paulites to define libertarianism (which Star0 was not doing) lets begin to shift the discussion to the center.  This is not the dirty word that politicos so often want it to be.  It is the marrow the core.  There must come a time in the future, whether near at hand or generations hence, that the U.S. will face a new Constitutional Convention and the time is now to decide that We are the center not the State.  It is time to put in place 3rd and 4th generational human rights and limit the immunity of government and corporation.
            Jin you are in a unique position with your educational background to inform people about the origins and breadth of Libertarian thought.  .

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 23, 2012 at 11:27 am |

            Calypso, sorry for the delayed response. I read your post last night, and retired from the internet (to reflect) before i had a chance to properly respond.

            you are correct, and it is obvious that i have mis-read star’s intention, and probably mis-directed the following posts. I appreciate your word’s of wisdom, and perhaps i can aspire to the higher standard of discourse you ascribe to my ability. Thank you, JIN.

          • I do not envy you the task of repeatedly trying to educate people regarding the history and meaning of anarchism. Most of the Americas have spent the last several decades using the word ‘anarchist’ as a catchall bin for anyone who is chaotic or disobedient to the current structure/paradigm. Its been colored over with implications of lazy, diffident, self indulgent violence and general destructiveness.

            Half the time you seem to be running into people who have absorbed this 50 year stream of bullshit and who bought it completely. I admit to being downright lazy compared to you. I know the real definition of anarchism and have a more than passing familiarity with its political history…but after spending a couple decades failing to make a dent in the self chosen ignorance of the gullible and emotional victims of a decades long propaganda campaign…I honestly just gave up.

            Kudos to you for fighting the good fight and spreading accurate information though. Keep up the fight, because cutting through the BS and clarifying the situation is more desperately needed than ever.

          • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

            Thank you Vox, i really appreciate it! i don’t really relish or accept it as a self-appointed job, but something about certain topics being mis-framed, mis represented…i guess i am neither high minded nor egoless enough to let those things pass…

    • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 7:41 am |

      people, whether anarchist or not, should acknowledge science as one system of thought amongst many. i don’t believe in the rejection of technology, just it’s appropriate use and i refuse to venerate it.

      are you vegetarian? and if so for what reasons?

      do you embrace chemically and genetically modified food?

      do you support industrial food production?

      isn’t vegetarianism (disregarding veganism for a second) a holistic system designed to support both the body and the ecosystem?

      for someone like myself whom is 80% of the time vegetarian, that food practice is instrinsically linked to organic, permacultural or local-production methods. Life and Nature is a cycle of decay and rebirth. Animals do have consciousness, so if one chooses to eat meat they should respect the life taken, and consume without waste. It’s an excercise in mindfullness, that would serve many well.

  9. A way for humans to remain omnivores without destroying the ecosystem raising meat unsustainably? I am OUTRAGED and DISGUSTED!

    • Hadrian999 | Feb 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm |

       humans need to scale back to sustainable levels, maybe this will work  but rushing into it before long term health risks can be evaluated is a mistake

    • Anarchy Pony | Feb 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

      There’s a lot of reasons that the biosphere is being destroyed and degraded. 

    • Jin The Ninja | Feb 21, 2012 at 7:15 am |

      factory farming is a major cause of ecosystem destruction, as well as over consumption, resource inequality and meat over consumption. there is a sustainable way to  have an omnivorous diet, but it’s not really parallel to western modes of food consumption.

  10. Anomaly_of_Anomie | Feb 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm |

    I wouldn’t eat this shit. Not even to survive. 

  11. This is the future of the food industry.  Synthetic processes at first, then synthetic nutrients.  Then eventually reconstituted matter……..mmmmmmm LOL, the future is gonna taste good.  Most of us won’t be alive to see the day of reconstituted food, thank god.  And I don’t mean rehydration of food, reconstitute also means to reconstruct.

  12. Monkey See Monkey Do | Feb 21, 2012 at 10:12 am |

    Unless we all become vegetarian and vegan this will be the only way to satisy the flesh obsessed. The planet calls for it, and so does the pain and suffering of our fellow sentient beings.

  13. Alexander | Feb 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    Soylent Green?

  14. That photo is not of a stem cell meat. This photo could lead to someone believing that stem cell laboratories have been able to manufacture ground beef that takes the shape of a burger. I think that qualifies as disinformation.

  15. from the suits point of view, putting the value in mcdonald’s “value meal”

  16. But it tastes like despair.

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