A few weeks ago I was listening to NPR and they were talking to author Michael Specter about his article, “Test-Tube Burgers,” which was published in the New Yorker. The article is a detailed piece about the advancements of in-vitro meat aka meat started in a petri dish.
The article starts with Willem Van Eelen, a scientist with an intriguing story about his experience in a Japanese P.O.W. camp during World War II which lead him to a life long mission to create in-vitro meat. Van Eelen’s experience in the P.O.W. camp were key factors in his decision to become a psychologist, determined to find a way to help hungry people eat meat.
When Van Eelen first spoke with scientist about his idea of raising meat in a lab he was laughed at.
Fast forward to 1981 and the discovery of stem cells. Van Eelen’s dreams were starting to look promising. By 1999 he had U.S. and Intertnational patents for the Industrial Production of Meat Using Cell Culture Methods.
To date there is meat being made in labs, but the quantity is tiny in size. Ideally future technology will make the process of lab made meat efficient enough to feed the hungry.
The article goes on to address the issues that arise and how in-vitro meat could effect the world.
My favorite quote from, Dan barber, a food activist and celebrity chef is:
“I would rather eat test-tube hamburger than Purdue chicken. At least the burger you are going to know the ingredients. ”
Usually, I see here people voicing outrage about science and food. I think that there may be a huge opportunity to help a lot of people as long as the patents for the in-vitro meat stay in the right hands.
What do you think? Could scientist create meat that had all of the essentials and right balance of nutrients?