Get ready for fake pork

December 3, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

By now, you may have seen the news about a team of scientists accomplishing the groundbreaking feat of growing meat in a laboratory. The Times of London reported that the Dutch scientists, using cells from a live pig, stewed up something in a petri dish resembling muscle. Read the story here.

It doesn’t look so good, and no one has tasted it. Technically, though, it’s pork.

For the sake of argument, let’s look ahead several years and anticipate researchers’ refining the discovery, leading to most pork being grown in laboratories and not on farms. That has huge implications for Indiana, the No. 5 hog state.

All those pigs—8 million of them sold a year—consume about 10 percent of the corn and 8 percent of the soybeans grown on Indiana soil, estimates Purdue University ag economist Chris Hurt.

In other words, farmers would need to find new uses for the nearly 1 million acres now devoted to feeding pigs. And we haven’t even discussed beef and poultry.

Hurt thinks consumers would be slow to accept the idea of artificial pork. After all, he emphasizes, researchers have a long way to go to make it palatable.

The barn door nonetheless has been thrown open.

How do you feel about meat grown in labs? If it looks and tastes the same as the traditional thing, would you have any objection to consuming it?

What about the farm ground? How would it likely be reallocated? To biofuels, perhaps?

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Vegetarians
    The real question is with no moral leg to stand on...will all the vegetarians bite in to some tasty BACON?!
  • Scifi to reality?
    I don't know if I originally saw something like this on Discovery, WFYI, or some scifi like show (ie: Resident Evil like show), but I think that the experiment only worked (and tasted well) when the scientists treated the lab-created meat like a real animal. Something about interacting with the meat (like you would the real animal) released some type of chemical within the meat to make it taste like it did.

    I for one would like to see this happen, but only if it is not socially sterile environment. I just hope that it will taste well and we won't have any complications from eating this over real meat.

    @IndyRich, I doubt that all vegetarians would eat it, even though it will be lab engineered meat, some people will still be vegetarians for one reason or another (for example: dietary reasons). There will also probably be a new classification of vegetarians if we switch to complete lab-created meat and stop harvesting real animals.
  • environmental benefits vs. nutrition drawbacks?
    Many agree that the agriculture/livestuck industry pose threats to our environment. While I am certainly not an expert on the topic, i do know that air emissions, soil degeneration, and water contamination are among the effects of raising mass amounts of livestock (including pigs) for the purpose of mass-consumption. The existence of lab-engineered meat could significantly reduce this burden.

    Yet, lab meat doesn't "sit well" with me. Will it have the same nutritional content? What will the short and long term effects be of the chemicals used to create the meat? I know that pork is not the most nutritious dietary options, but is it better than fake food?

  • environmental benefits vs. nutrition drawbacks?
    Many agree that the agriculture/livestuck industry pose threats to our environment. While I am certainly not an expert on the topic, i do know that air emissions, soil degeneration, and water contamination are among the effects of raising mass amounts of livestock (including pigs) for the purpose of mass-consumption. The existence of lab-engineered meat could significantly reduce this burden.

    Yet, lab meat doesn't "sit well" with me. Will it have the same nutritional content? What will the short and long term effects be of the chemicals used to create the meat? I know that pork is not the most nutritious dietary options, but is it better than fake food?

  • Farming...
    What no-one's considered -
    that lab-/vat-grown meat still needs input nutrients... corn, soybeans...
    so I suspect that the vast majority of tthat farmland will remain in crops for quite some time... if it doesn't get buried under a glacier, that is.
  • It's People!
    Soylent Green! Look, doesn't anyone think messing with mother nature (e.g., seedless watermelons, growth hormone, lab grown livestock, etc) will catch up with us at some point? It's funny, but now a days I'll bet a lot of corn-fed beef eaters wouldn't like the taste of free-range beef because of it's distinctly "gamier" taste. I am reminded of those nostalgic saturday morning cartoon jingles "You are what You eat." Is that still relevant?

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

ADVERTISEMENT