I am mad right now, madder than I have been for some time because of something I think is a mistake, a mistake that many people seem to be supporting. But I as a foodie, meat lover and all round semi normal chap am going to say my piece.
As many of you are aware a recent story has been splashed over the front page of various newspapers, magazines and online forums. The story about how ‘in vitro’ - or to you and me ‘artificial meat’ grown in a petri dish is going to be the future of meat consumption across the globe. To give you a better understanding of what this entails please let me introduce you to professor Garratt from the University of insanity *insert sarcasm.
What is ‘in vitro’ meat?
Without going into too much detail, in vitro meat is produced by taking stem cells from an animal such as a cow, chicken or pig, the cells are fed with a horse foetus to encourage them to grow. Once grown the cells are stretched over a piece of velcro (yum yum) to form small sheets of grey ‘meat’, ready to be sizzled and pressed between a soft white bun with pickles and your chosen condiment, Oh joy! You can find out the full details here without my biased sarcasm and wit.
It’s not welcome on my fork!
The fact of the matter is the world eat’s and wastes too much food, we throw away roughly 1.2 billion tonnes of food needlessly every year because of a combination of bad farming practices, overly fussy consumers and supermarkets being too cautious with best before dating, and not forgetting the oh so popular ‘buy one get on free’ promotions which are hard to resist (I know because I fallen victim myself!). So in my view the answer is not about growing a pig in a petri dish to satisfy the ever growing and greedy population, it’s about knowledge, understanding and having a sense of respect when it comes to eating an animal that has been slaughtered so you can eat it.
There will of course be those that will say ‘but if an animal is not being killed and you can still have meat, surely that is a good thing?’ No I don’t think it is such a good thing. farming an animal for food gives us a direct line of respect for the meat that eventually lands on our plate, You understand that your nice juicy steak has come from either a longhorn or a dexter, you know that your lamb came from Wales or at the very least you know your supermarket chicken came from a british farm. You might think to the average consumer this doesn’t matter, who cares what sort of beef it is, who cares if my chicken is cornfed or not, who cares indeed. But believe me you will miss it when it’s taken away from you.
For the foodie, the chef or anyone that just simply enjoys good meat this is a travesty on an epic scale. For the simple fact you cannot replicate nature, you cannot replicate the nutty qualities of Iberico pork in a petri dish, nor can you replicate the grassy earthy taste of salt marsh lamb, and you most certainly can’t grow a well hung piece of Hereford beef in laboratory.
In an instant the ruddy faced butcher will be wiped out, leaving nothing but the supermarkets to corner and take control of the fake meat market, it would produce a generation of children that will think that there steak comes from ‘ lab HB/101′ and will have no clue about precedence or what a meat producing animal is.
If you want to live in a world of on demand 24/7 generic flavourless un characteristic meat, available day or night, perfectly formed and packaged for you to pop in the oven then fine. If you want to be able to drop in to your nearest meat lab and get a nice pink slab of chemically grown pig derivative, full of sodium benzoate and collagen powder then be my guest. But please don’t moan and gripe when the novel sterile existence you so wished for becomes a grey meat sodden nightmare of disappointment.
Meat is meat, enjoy but eat less of it, stop needlessly wasting. End of problem.