In-vitro meat, or meat that is grown in a lab instead of inside an animal, seems to be inching closer to reality. Reuters profiles a lab at the Medical University of South Carolina that's working on producing in-vitro meat.
Scientists there understand that the average consumer might find the concept kind of, well, gross: "But there are a lot of products that we eat today that are considered natural that are produced in a similar manner...There's yogurt, which is cultured yeast. You have wine production and beer production. These were not produced in laboratories. Society has accepted these products."
Which is true! But cultured yeast is a little bit different than, say, pork belly that was never part of a pig or part of a belly. Still, Professor Vladimir Mironov wants people to consider how valuable such technology could be, both in terms of "future global food crises" and also space travel: "Further out, if we have interplanetary exploration, people will need to produce food in space and you can't take a cow with you."
With PETA offering a $1 million prize to the first scientist to produce marketable in-vitro meat (and apparently our intergalactic future on the line), it seems someone will get there eventually. Don't get too excited, though: last we checked, the stuff was still "creamy in color with a texture that falls somewhere between Jell-O and SPAM." Yum?
· South Carolina Scientist Works to Grow Meat in Lab [Reuters]
· PETA Offers $1 Million Reward to First to Make In Vitro Meat [PETA]
· All Frankenfood Coverage on Eater [-E-]