Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Vitro

Look at that marbling!
                                                                   "IN GLASS"

      "In vitro" is a phrase used to describe a procedure that takes place "in glass" which is the latin translation of the phrase. This term is used by the science community to describe a method of containing cellular biology within controlled circumstances. Instead of working on the molecular level within a living organism or cell "in vitro" or "In glass" refers to the glass test tubes and petri dishes used for in vitro molecular science. You might ask, "What could this possibly have to do with food?"

       In vitro meats were proposed as early as the first stem cell research. Discussion of the possibility of making an abundance of oranges out of just one orange cell, a fish fillet from one molecule or a butcher shop with no need for a butcher soon became the focus of a large part of the stem cell research community. In vitro meat, or "cultured meat" is in essence animal meat product that is grown in a laboratory having never at any point been part of an actual living animal. This is where this starts to get very unsettling very quickly. "Instead of genetically creating a whole animal "clone" why not just grow a tenderloin alone?" No fat, no butcher, no immediately discernible difference from a real beef tenderloin. Picture if you will, a huge cut of "meat" completely resembling a cows muscle growing rapidly beneath a plastic dome with many tubes and wires fed into it. To me this sounds disgusting and way too futuristic to really be the focus of some of the worlds smartest molecular biologist. Unfortunately, it is.

     Lucky for us, in vitro meats are not yet deemed to be safe for public consumption and at this point production of cultured meats is far more expensive than that of commercially raised, umm ..."real animals". In 2008 PETA offered a $1 Million prize to anyone who could develop an "in vitro-chicken-meat-product" composed of only chicken starter cells from initial development stages. Funding for in vitro meat is still plentiful, with the costs of conventional farming techniques constantly rising and the rising world population many scientist predict that in vitro foods will play a major part in our worlds food supply by the year 2050. Gross! - K.C.C.

   Any questions or contributions for The Bleu Ribbon please email - thebleuribbon@gmail.com - Thanks!

"http://www.slashfood.com/2011/02/01/in-vitro-meat-still-not-on-the-table/" "http://www.answers.com/topic/in-vitro" "http://www.futurefood.org/in-vitro-meat/index_en.php"

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