Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Meat is microbiology.

You know how, when you've set aside time to sort out the tax form, suddenly everyone in the world wants to talk to you? Well today's that day. It feels like everyone's New Year Resolution is to get in my way.

Anyway, since I was distracted I thought I'd scour the Mail for horror story ideas. There's at least one a day in there.

How about lab-grown meat? Grown from stem cells in huge vats. Let's play with the idea that in one of those vats, some of those stem cells produce nerve tissue, then a brain...

Its a silly idea. Meat grows in cow-shaped lumps in the middle of fields. It grows on grass, which is free, rather than on cell culture media which is expensive. It requires no effort other than good fence construction. It uses very cheap farm labour rather than expensive lab staff and it has no bacterial contamination on the inside, unlike vat-grown fibre.

I have no moral objection to lab-grown meat but I will not eat it because bacteriologically, the risk is huge.

Is it halal or kosher? Do we have to say prayers when inoculating the growth medium?

If this starts appearing without labels I am going back to setting snares and to throwing bread to pigeons with one hand while holding a cricket bat in the other.

It's not likely to reach economic viability but that hasn't stopped wind power. And once you eat undefined meat without question, Soylent Green is only a crematorium away...


stopcpdotcom said...

L-I, this may interest you:

DevonshireDozer said...

Now you've got my attention - I'm interested!

"I have no moral objection to lab-grown meat but I will not eat it because bacteriologically, the risk is huge."

Would you care to expand on this? Would you eat synthetic products like Quorn?

Henry Crun said...

Quorn, yuk. Vile fungus grown in large vats.

Thomas said...

Here is the latest out of Japan.
A scientist has learned how to create tasty and appealing artificial meat out of human feces.
The feces is nicely shaped, properly coloured and a quite nice aroma is added to make the delicacy desireable and delicious.
I would expect we might all be eating artificial meat made from human feces soon in order to save the planet and because government will want us to be healthy, safe and secure.
Of course, government's been feeding us a lot of this already, just that soon they will demand we start eating it, will be the thing.

Legiron said...

Amazon now have an Ebook lending library. So far I think it only works in the US but it will spread.

Legiron said...

Consider a piece of steak. It's from a healthy animal so there are no nasties in the animal. The only contamination can be on the surface - cook (or even just pasteurise) the surface and it's safe to eat. If it's cleanly cut it will be safe raw.

Now consider mince. Again, from a healthy animal so the only contamination will be on the surface of the meat - but in this case the meat has been minced and mixed, so the surface is mixed throughout. There are now air spaces and a huge surface area. The only safe way to eat it is to cook it thoroughly. Mince (including burgers) are never safe raw. Rare burgers are madness with added blood.

These synthomeats will be grown in tanks and will be closer in risk to mince than steak. Worse than mince in fact, they will be growing in a highly nutritious microbial growth medium and they have no muscle structure and no immune system.

All precautions will be taken to ensure no naughty bacteria get in and one day, they will get in anyway. Bacteria are like that. Little buggers.

Quorn - never tried it. No need, I eat meat so I don't need to bother with the mashed mushroom stuff. It's probably grown with antibiotics to keep the bacteria out, and the synthomeat will be grown that way too. You know, with the antibiotics everyone objects to when fed to real animals, but in much higher concentrations because high concentrations are toxic to animals but not to cultured cells.

Above all, it makes no sense. If you want the ideal human food, grow human proteins. We hardly need to digest them at all and they have all the amino acids we need because they are made of us.

If you want a proper roast that is perfect human nutrition, grow a foetus.

Legiron said...

Some years back I co-authored a book based on the idea of a lost spaceship whose inhabitants had turned largely feral. The food was recycled...

That reminds me. We had finished the book and set up for a second. I must contact that other writer and see if we can't get it into publishing shape.

DevonshireDozer said...

Thanks for this.

I have two kids, both of whom were brainwashed by what passed for an education from the state during the 80s & 90s. Neither has any real grasp of science or maths, but one is a veggie & the other has a touching faith in 'The State' & is certain that all of the worlds ills were caused during his childhood by a woman called Margaret Thatcher. We eat quorn when eating as a family to save having to cook two meals. Thank god they both drink alcohol, especially if I'm paying for it, so we usually get by.

I had never thought about what we would be ingesting along with the mashed mushroom. Any idea about what the residual levels of AB might be? This could be a nice little earner for some moron of a lawyer who subscribes to the money making cult of Ralph Nader.

As for perfect meat based human nutrition, I think you have hit on a good idea. Is the world ready for roasted windbag of politician & braised banker?   . It might be great nutritionally, but would probably need plenty of seasoning to get an acceptable taste.


Ed P said...

Quorn is promoted as mushroom-based, but is actually from a slime-mould.  You could probably grow your own from scraping the bathroom tile surfaces...yummy!
I'll stick to meat in recognisable shapes thank you (& never in pies where they hide the MRM shit).

DevonshireDozer said...

Luckily, I come from a long line of Devonshire peasant folk. I know my place. 

Licking the mould off a bathroom tile is something to which I aspire. Washed down with a sterilising glass or two of scrumpy, it'll be a treat;^) .

opinions powered by