Tag: Food Technology
Why Meat Grown in Labs is the Next Logical Step for Food Production
In his essay “Fifty Years Hence”, Winston Churchill speculated, “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”
At an event in London this week, the first hamburger made entirely from meat grown through cell culture was cooked and consumed before a live audience. In June at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, Andras Forgacs took a step even beyond Churchill’s hopes. He unveiled the world’s first leather made from cells grown in the lab.
These are historic events. Ones that will change the discussion about lab-grown meat from blue-skies science to a potential consumer product which may soon be found on supermarket shelves and retail stores. And while some may perceive this development as a drastic shake-up in the world of agriculture, it really is part of the trajectory that agricultural technology is already following.
In-Vitro Hamburger Sponsored by Google
Minutes ago the world’s first lab grown hamburger was grilled in London. The cultured beef burger has been engineered by Prof Mark Post, who lived up to the promise he made some years ago.
More remarkable than the look & taste of the burger, which only stood out because it was presented in a petri dish and described by one of the panelist as ‘hot’, was the revelation that Serge Brin, co-founder of Google.com, financed the project.
Seven Future Visions on In-Vitro Meat
With today’s presentation of the first lab grown hamburger by Prof. Mark Post, in-vitro meat makes an important step towards our daily diet. Cultured meat could one day be a sustainable and animal friendly alternative to today’s meat production. Yet, despite this technological breakthrough, many people still find it is an unattractive idea to eat meat from the lab. Before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat in-vitro, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.
While most of the ongoing research focuses on duplicating current meat products (like hamburgers) and making the cultured beef affordable, sustainable and tasty, the envisioning of new meat products that fit this new technology is equally important. Just like industrial manufacturing brought us new furniture, in-vitro meat technology may lead to entirely new food products, beyond todays sausages, steaks and burgers.
Besides a Hamburger, What Else?
Although cultured meat is typically presented as a technology to solve problems like animal suffering, food scarcity and climate issues, the technology could also be framed positively: Eating in-vitro could bring us entirely new food experiences and eating habits that may enrich our lives.
Oranges Are Going Extinct – Unless a Gene from Spinach Can Help
The apocalypse is on its way – at least for oranges. Citrus greening, a disease that kills citrus trees and makes their fruit green, shrunken and inedibly bitter, is racing across the globe. The disease, which is transmitted from tree to tree by a tiny insect called a psyllid, was first reported in China in 1943. Since then, it’s spread across the globe, finally making its way to Florida’s famous orange groves in 2005.
There is no known cure. A worldwide search failed to turn up a naturally immune tree. Measures like burning infected trees and dousing the psyllids with insecticide slow but do not stop the disease. With such seemingly bleak odds, does this mean the end of oranges, lemons and grapefruits?
World’s First In Vitro Hamburger Arrives
After leaving our stomachs growling for two whole years, Professor Mark Post has announced that the world’s first in vitro hamburger is finally here. The burger, grown from 3,000 rice-sized strips of lab-grown muscle tissue, will be cooked and consumed before a London audience this Monday. The 150 gram burger cost a whopping €300,000, making it far and away the most expensive hamburger ever produced. We don’t envy the chef in charge of grilling it.
I’ll Take A Variety of Fried Gadgets, Please
American photographer Henry Hargreaves inspects humans’ relationship with nutrition and global consumption. The result is the Deep Fried Gadgets project, a series of photos showing technological devices covered in batter and fried: a mobile phone, a tablet, an mp3, a laptop and even a Gameboy.
These images make us think about the fact that our consumption of electronic tools has something in common with the concept of fast food.
Food Familiarization #3: Mimicry
Food mimics try to look and taste like whatever they’re replacing. Veggie burgers, veggie sausages, even the dreaded vegan bacon, all exist to comfort the nostalgic vegetarian. These meat-mimics imply that a change in diet doesn’t mean a loss of deep-seated cultural rituals. You can still barbecue and eat a full English breakfast. Sort of.
Food Familiarization #2: Celebrity Endorsement
This is the second part in a series that examines the different ways new foods become naturalized parts of our diets. For part one, click here.
Potatoes are an evil, unchristian tuber, a food so disgusting that even dogs refuse to eat it. Or, if you’re European, that’s what you might still think, if not for the aristocracy’s work to popularize the potato in the 1700s. Though we associate the celebrity endorsement with vapid talk shows and magazine spreads, in reality it’s been around for centuries, and it’s played a far more serious role than we give it credit for.
Manufacturing Imperfection in Processed Luncheon Meats
If your prepackaged deli meat has been looking a little more “authentic” lately, it’s not because the meat is getting any tastier or the recipes any more artisanal. Food manufacturers have been hard at work giving processed meats – arguably some of the nastiest stuff in the grocery store – a “deli fresh”, “homemade” makeover.