The Vitro Meat: Meat Gone Wrong

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In the United States the rate of obesity was 39.8% and affected 93.3 million US adults in 2015 and 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data (“Adult Obesity Facts”). The rate of obesity is up due to technology that is constantly developing. Technology that is altering the food we eat on a weekly to daily basis. Little did you know, that the beef, chicken, and pork you are eating is not going straight from the butcher shop to the store. Scientists are now growing beef hamburgers in petri dishes.

Many of us have taken a bite out of a nice juicy hamburger, whether it came from a high class restaurant or it was an original McDonalds burger. However little did you know that hamburger did not come from a living bovine creature. Instead it was created by a scientist in a lab. Magical meat is being grown in petri dishes and you will soon be consuming it almost on a daily basis in just a few generations. This is not only bad for the consumers, the environment, but the economy as well. This vitro meat is just another added factor to our growing obesity problem.

According to Professor Chris Jozefowicz from Current Science “Mystery Meat” explains what this magical meat really is. Vitro is basically just a fancy word for cultured or cell-cultured meat. This involves injecting muscle tissue from an animal into a cell culture, allowing cells to “grow” outside the animal’s body. A new way of creating more genetically modified “food” and keeping it hidden from the consumers as much as possible.

An article from Scientific American titled “The Petri Dish Platter” explains the process of how this vitro meat is grown. This technique has been used for about fifteen years in regenerative medicine for repairing human tissues and organs for severe injuries and burns, but some food companies have undertook many experiments to take the same process and grow hamburger. Step one in this process is to isolate the mature adult stem cells from a livestock animal generally from a cow but it can also be done through a chicken or a pig. Step two, the mature cells are easily then converted into muscle sheets. Step three, they then induce the cells to multiply by culturing the cells in a bacterial growth serum. Step four, the cells are prodded to form the muscle cells and are then harvested. Finally step five, the easiest step of all… the consumption of the freshly lab grown meat. Completely altered food, meat that you can not consider real meat as it is poked and prodded to grow in a petri dish.

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Vitro meat is a rather new technology. In 2013 a Dutch pharmacologist who is a Professor of Angiogenesis in Tissue Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology, demonstrated the possibility of this technology with the world’s first lab-grown hamburger. “It required 20,000 fibers of beef, cost about $325, 000 to make, and took about three months to grow(Jozefowicz).” The experiment was mostly successful; the meat was completely safe and formed something that looked almost identical to a hamburger, yet the taste testers were not so easily convinced. They reported that the artificial meat was similar in texture to that of actual meat, yet the flavor was not comparable. Which is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard. With this experiment being mostly successful our government will be over spending on the altercation of simple foods which is ridiculous. “Consumers will no longer be able to afford simple foods such as meat which is necessary for the human diet to be healthy. If vitro meat is the future food, people we need new ways to be paying for 325,000 dollar hamburger(Jozefowicz).” We will all need new jobs then.

Although the flavor is not comparable to a nice juicy burger from Bardenas, scientist can make healthier hamburgers. A side effect to this however is the mass consumption that will ensure the growing obesity problem. The fact that scientists such as those working at Scientific American like Jeffery Bartholet are growing this meat outside the animal body in a lab, they have complete control over the lipids and proteins that are in each and every hamburger patty. “Controlling the ratio of unsaturated to polyunsaturated fats in the product can conceivably make the meat healthier than conventional alternatives (Jeffery).” We are now able to keep track of how much fat is in each bite. However due to this, more people are going to want to eat this meat and continue to eat this meat, more than normal, in the end it will cause a growing obesity problem.

Due to our growing population there is an increase of food demand. Theoretically we would only need a handful of animals to collect the cells. Some researchers from the Scientific American believe that even ten tiny muscle cells from a single pig could produce 50, 000 tons of pork. These statistics show that vitro meat would save us ranching land to turn into more housing. Yes this would be an advantage, however we if keep altering the food we eat this will negatively affect us health wise. Eating completely genetically modified foods will begin to harm people. If we kill off all people from feeding the population altered food we will not need land for housing.
“There’s a very real danger that those at the bottom of the business pyramid find themselves excluded from the marketplace (Jozefowicz)”. “Balancing the need for development in our farming practises with maintaining peoples’ livelihoods promises to be a difficult tightrope to walk over the coming years.”

Whether you want to or not, with today’s technology you will be eating magical meat as well as other foods with no idea that it did not come straight from the garden or straight from the ranch. It is up to you to take a stand against this mysterious lab grown food before it gets out of hand. Today was a start to inform you with what you are eating. The next time you are biting into a nice juicy burger you will be conscious about what you are consuming and just how exactly it was made.

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