Lab Meat on the Menu?

Would you eat a hamburger that was grown in a test tube? How about a chicken nugget from a petri dish? Sometimes called “shmeat” (as in, a sheet of lab-grown meat), in vitro meat might someday be an option for people with carnivorous inclinations who aren’t wild about the idea of killing and eating real animals.

That’s the question Kate Sheppard puts to readers at Mother Jones.

Well, many greens and foodies are already irrationally opposed to GMO foods (for unwarranted environmental and health concerns), so I don’t see them accepting synthetic meat anytime soon.

Still, if you’re interested in the state of the science on the fake meat front, and the challenges it must overcome before a lab-grown chicken nugget lands on your dinner plate, Kate provides a nice overview.

12 Responses to “Lab Meat on the Menu?”

  1. Mary says:

    Actually, I’m only gonna eat it if they add in vitro fat. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time (ironically since I used to extract muscles from mice for my grad student work), and I’ve grown muscle in tissue culture. But the flavor is in the fat, you know…. I think that’s the biggest drawback of vegetarian pattie-type things: they are quite dry and lack that flavor from the fats.
    But I think there’s no chance foodies will eat it. A scary percentage of them aren’t even aware there is DNA in their organic carrots and are irrationally freaked by the thought.

  2. Stu says:

    I’m sure that cows are all in consensus that this is a good idea. 

  3. Stu says:

    Heh- funny comment in the MJ article…

    “I wouldn’t eat anything developed by scientists.”

    That’s true skepticism


  4. Now you make me feeling guilty for being unkind to KS earlier 🙁

  5. Tom Fuller says:

    Given the mealy and cardboardy taste of the meat I buy from Safeway, I am a) concerned that it has already come to market and/or b) willing to give it a try.

    The idea of not killing animals to feed myself is actually quite attractive. I’d go vegetarian, but it’s not very sporting. Stalking a carrot isn’t much fun–they just sit there, waiting. 

  6. Ed Forbes says:

    Three main requirements:

    A. is it cheeper ?

    B. Does it taste ok ( not good, just ok)?

    C. is it cheeper

    I also think it may already be on the market. After eating at MacD’s, I count this as very likely.

  7. Mary says:

    @Tom Fuller–check this out, maybe more sporting than you think: 

  8. Tom Fuller says:

    Connelly at #4, you have many reasons to feel guilty. Why stop with KS?

  9. Louise says:

    I try to eat a low fat, low sugar, vitamin and fibre rich diet.

    Trouble is it tastes like shite

    The only tasty morsel is a calorie, regardless of its origins.


  10. bigcitylib says:

    If it tastes decent Ill eat it.  I’ve eaten horse and liked it.  How could this be worse?

  11. Kendra says:


    If you liked horse, then why do you say what could be worse? Where I live, horse is “normal” and I eat it all the time, it’s excellent, only weird the first time because of the teutonic horse worship we inherited. 

    I’d certainly be willing to try lab meat but probably it would be best in a sauce, stews, etc. I don’t really see it as a reality, according to what the article says, anytime soon.

    Just for context, I eat vegetarian meals quite often, esp with pasta, e.g. with garlic, oil, zucchini, etc., is just great, but don’t see the point of making fake piccata etc. with tofu, in fact find it quite horrible. Or soy burgers – gimme real vegetables, not meat substitute!

  12. Kendra says:

    P.S. I do try to make a point of eating meat on Mondays (rebellious spirit and all that).

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