Is lab grown meat the future? : Good morning... - Healthy Eating

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Is lab grown meat the future?

Jerry profile image

Good morning everyone,

Coming from a scientific background where I've been trained to focus on facts I'm fascinated in the technology of lab grown meat especially as we now have 3D food printers that have been licensed for use in restaurants and eateries and depending on the order the printer prints out a plant based meat replacement mimicking how nature has created the structure of meat and the same is true of new plant based milks.

Here's a link to an interesting article in the Guardian about lab grown meat:

Here's a much shorter article about 3D printed vegan steaks hitting restaurants and eateries soon:

My opinion is that the science behind this is based on the need to stop global warming as we can reduce this much quicker by reducing methane rather than CO2 so the poor old moo caw is getting the blame for factory farming and its knock on effect with a sting in its tail as factory farming has made meat appear very affordable but with a big hidden price to society, like obesity and bio diversity caused bay these intense farming methods.

The real problem with fast foods and things like chicken nuggets mentioned in the Guardian article is we don't know what we are really eating when you look at the parts of the chicken that make up chicken nuggets, so here's an extract from the article, and remember that approx 2 billion chicken nuggets are eaten in the US every year;

Nuggets are not even primarily meat, but mostly fat and assorted viscera – including epithelium, bone, nerve and connective tissue – made palatable through ultra-processing

Being into whole foods this reinforces my opinion that we the consumer should know exactly what we are awareness of this is imperative and empowering.

37 Replies
Cooper27 profile image

It's an interesting topic, I think the general consensus is that lab grown meat has a big future, but I think there will be a gap in persuading people that it's safe and that the nutritional profile is there.

There was a really interesting documentary on Netflix called "Kiss the Ground", about the damage modern agriculture techniques are causing to the earth. It's an interesting watch. It seems the sector needs a big overhaul!

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Cooper27

Thanks copper as I’m fascinated by it and have to agree with you that an overhaul is indeed needed.

And I shall look out for “Kiss the Ground” as it sounds very interesting.

Hi Jerry, It really does seem like a bridge too far doesn't it, and exceedingly unpleasant, but if there's money to be made in this way, it surely will be done! Look at all of those strange food analogs being produced as substitutes for vegans which have flooded the marketplace since veganism gained in popularity. I think that for large tranches of the population of UK, what matters most is convenience and affordability and the whole-food boat sailed long ago. I'm inclined to believe that those nasty lumps of ready breaded indeterminate meat calling themselves 'nuggets' and which are already being knitted by some evil magic deep within our factories, are already being trialled for 'printing' into existence. Awful thought.

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Callendersgal

Hi Sue, here’s a link about the impact of some vegan milk manufacture that are not sustainable with an article at the end about DUG milk made from potatoes and it mimics

I’m sure you realise what my ethos is regarding my diet and I’d like to buy a home flour mill so I can grind my own flour from healthy gluten free alternatives as that would be a good kitchen accessory for me.

I’ve been aware of Franken foods for a long time as they render wheat gluten free by washing it in solvents repeatedly to wash the bulk of the gluten out. But when you toast it if it burns it fizzes and bubbles…🤢 so I don’t eat that being into whole foods. 😇

So I can think of lots of reasons for me to stick my current dietary choices.

Callendersgal profile image
CallendersgalGuest in reply to Jerry

Absolutely Jerry! And a home flour mill sounds like a wonderful addition to a serious kitchen. Failing that it’s lovely when you’re able to find a local mill which still operates and produces flour but I know that those are very lucky finds! 👍😊🥦🍇🍎🍐🌽🥒🍆

I sincerely hope not. All my meat comes from my local butcher who can source it to local farms where cattle and sheep are grass fed and free range. Chicken comes free range too and it actually tastes like chicken.

I like to support local businesses so I will always head to the butcher and green grocery instead of the supermarket.

As for mechanically reclaimed meat such as chicken nuggets, yuk. I couldn't put the stuff in my body. I appreciate we all have different tastes but I want my meat to be meat which comes from a beef herd that has led a happy life prior to it entering the food chain.

I wouldn't want to eat 3D printed food. If it could go someway to eliminating famine in desperate countries then my attitude towards it may change. But I don't know enough about it to make an informed decision.

It's vital that climate change is acted upon. I hear so many different things. For example, the consumption of avocados are damaging the environment apparently as is the growth in Palm oil and soy. But the amount of information and opinions out there is so overwhelming that I can't even begin to pick it apart.

I just stick to local. It struck my yesterday whilst eating a Roast Pork. The pork came from a farm less than half a mile away and the carrots, spuds, beans and courgette were all home grown. The apple sauce was made from our own apples and the gravy from the meat juices.

I have more confidence in nature than a 3D printer at the moment. But that's not to say that I am not open minded to change.

Interesting topics though.

One question. Would 3D meat be considered "processed food" as it has been through a sort of process in order for it to be created. It's not come from nature as such?

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to happytulip

Hi happytulip firstly I think that you make by far the best choices by buying meat locally and from a reputable butcher knowing it’s origin. 😇

Your choices also avoid lots of air miles so Im impressed as to reverse global warming our actions and behaviour is instrumental so we have to do our bit.

Mechanically recovered meat has been around for a long time and is sold as reformed meat slices, here’s a link about, the before and after photos are revealing:

I find the concept of meat being produced by a 3D printer hard to conceive and I would definitely see it as processed food.

Your home made apple sauce sounds a perfect accompaniment. 🍎

Blueruth profile image
Blueruth in reply to happytulip

They probably won’t go away anytime soon but prices could become prohibitive to many that don’t see it that way yet. Imo. Same with coffee.

Printed and laboratory grown meats are not the same thing.

Laboratory grown meats are actual meats, animal protein and fat in the form it might grow on an animal. It's grown from animal stem cells and will have the same matrix as the real thing. Whether it is healthy is questionable. I am imagining a factory stomach that digests grains or whatever into a nutrient rich blood that would then flow to the muscles growing in vats. What are the advantages of this? It's ethical - or is it? We are saving animals by denying their existence. Which is probably a good thing for battery hens etc, but is not existing preferable to living a life on pasture, with relationships with other animals? I don't know.

The printed stuff is just the same vegan protein nonsense. The printing doesn't make it meat, it just makes it look like meat. Healthy? Time will tell, but I have my doubts. Ethical? Not sure.

And Jerry, what did you mean by this?

"meat appear very affordable but with a big hidden price to society, like obesity and bio diversity caused by these intense farming methods"

Meat doesn't cause obesity, that's down to grains, sugar and seed oils. And the real harms to biodiversity are the giant monocrops like wheat, almonds, soy, rapeseed - particularly roundup resistant varieties which enables them to blanket the crop in glyphosate, killing all the non-crop plants in the area. And these are almost certainly going to remain the building blocks of the vegan foods.

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Subtle_badger

Hi Subtle_badger this is why I posted 2 links about the differences as I’m aware they’re very different processes.

What I want was with the low cost of factory farmed meat with its processed off cuts like chicken nuggets does encourage people to eat the wrong things so I should’ve made that clear and modern factory farming cones at a price that was all I meant.

I agree that meat doesn’t cause obesity that’s down to poor dietary choices based on money and slick advertising with the consumer nit knowing what they are really eating.

Subtle_badger profile image
Subtle_badger in reply to Jerry

I think nose-to-tail is the only ethical way to consume meat (if you are killing an animal, it should be mandatory to make full use of them), so I don't have a problem with them using would would otherwise be thrown away, assuming it's safe to eat, and reasonably nutritious.

But using scraps would be more common if meat was expensive rather than cheap. If you look at the McDonald's website, you can see their nuggets don't use scraps - which the can afford to as chicken is so cheap.

Chicken Breast Meat (45%), Water, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Rapeseed), Maize Flour, Allergen Ingredient: WHEAT Flour (contains Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Starches, Allergen Ingredient: WHEAT Semolina, Breadcrumb (contains Allergen Ingredient: WHEAT), Natural Flavourings (contains Allergen Ingredient: CELERY), Potassium Chloride, Dried Glucose Syrup, Allergen Ingredient: WHEAT Gluten, Salt, Raising Agents (Sodium Carbonates), Pepper, Allergen Ingredient: CELERY, Dextrose.

And there you have it: refined grains, seed oils, sugar. That is the real reason it is cheap, and addictive and obesogenic. The chicken is the only healthy element on that list. Oh,and the salt&pepper!

happytulip profile image
happytulip in reply to Jerry

Just to add, I think that poor diet can cause weight gain too. However it is astonishing how much weight gain can be as a result of some medications. When you are on 10 medications that all have weight gain as a side effect, you're really up against it however healthy your diet is.

Recently I lost 11kg in 8 days just by dropping a dose of one of my meds. I had been beating myself up for years thinking that the weight gain was my fault. But by reducing my dose I suddenly lost 11kg of weight which I was carrying around as fluid. No wonder I felt so tired.

So yes, poor dietary choices can cause obesity but medications don't help either. I wouldn't have considered this before my own experiences but I think it's important

to acknowledge it as a factor.

Thanks 🙏

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to happytulip

I think that you’ve made a very valid point happytulip as water retention can be caused by salty food so it must be really hard when meds work against you on another level so we’ll done for losing 11Kg.

You deserve to feel good about that, 😊

happytulip profile image
happytulip in reply to Jerry

Thanks Jerry. It was all fluid. So many people are in a similar situation as me. Carrying around 11 litres of fluid everyday just because of one medication is alot. I do wonder if I'd just evaporate if I came off all my meds. Unfortunately it's not an option. And some people need a high salt diet which as you say makes you retain fluid. Its that tightrope again!🙂

We decided to use the whispers about meat shortages as an opportunity to cut down on it and replace it with vegetarian items and fish instead.

Lab grown anything isnt my cup of tea along with genetically modified food. Its maddening to see how the food industry progresses further away from whole foods in their most organic state in order to make a dollar.

Food shortages could be improved by a reduction in food waste and sustainable farming practices. Equally important is a great need to raise the animals as they would be if they were roaming freely in their natural habitat and eating their natural diet for ethical reasons and to maximize their nutritional profile.At the end of the day, the treatment of animals is of utmost importance during their lifetime and paying respect to a living creature is humane

I find it appalling the percentage of food that finds itself in landfills and its difficult to stomach especially since many are starving for food around the world.

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Imaaan

Hi Imaaan this is why I eat whole foods and try to make choices that don’t involve the processed food industry or factory farming. Even though I’m a coeliac with lots of dietary restrictions it suits my ethos and also of importance I can afford my life style and thats important. As we have to make the best decisions for us and our needs and circumstances.

happytulip profile image
happytulip in reply to Imaaan

So many important points here. Such an important reply.

My family come from farming stock and animal welfare was of such high importance. I have never seen an animal mistreated on the farm and just can't imagine it happening. I am not a fan of these industrial mega farms. Nothing mega about it in my opinion. Awful places.

Food waste. You've hit the nail on the head. I cannot stand food waste especially when so many people go hungry.

I've spent today making enormous vats of chilled cucumber and tomato soup. We have grown to many so it's all being made into something and going into the freezer. Nothing gets wasted. Or at least that's the plan.

No but scarcity might be. Already is in many places. Certainly not among the rich. It will be more desirable as a display of wealth. why invest in the poor when there are beans? (Et al). Also read that insects could be the future source of protein. The time frame predicted was after my death. 😅

Hello Jerry this is interesting but I will only eat meat if its halal or I know the source . It would be good for people who have meat allergies too but would it have the same nutrients and vitamins as regular meat ? Is the equipment used to make this meat sanitary? What is the process? . Those are the questions I would ask before buying it or trying it ..

Subtle_badger profile image
Subtle_badger in reply to Hb2003

The 3D printed meat would be fine, I think, because it's not meat,it's plants. So just like an impossible burger etc or even a plate of beans.

The lab-grown would be interesting, from both halal and kosher points of view. There is no slaughter, no blood. I imagine the meat would be harvested rather like a vegetable crop. It's going to take great thinkers to decide if it's halal, or if it could be under some circumstances.

I suspect different Imams and rabbis are going to come to different conclusions. I suspect the way it might be allowed, would be if it somehow wouldn't count as meat.

What an interesting question!

Hb2003 profile image
Hb2003 in reply to Subtle_badger

Thank you 🙏 ☺️ I agree with everything that you said .

We must not be lured into the processed food industy's hands with an arguable vision of reducing greehouse gas. there is a strong arguement that animals are not the problem but industrial farming methods. Farm animals are incredible machines for turning inedible (by humans) plants into rich, bioavailable nutients as well as building up new topsoil which sequesters carbon and increases biodiversity. Just think of the insects, beetles, slugs, snails and worms that you find when you dig your garden, let alone the mice, rabbits, badgers, birds etc that live of farmland.

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Eryl

Hi Eryl I agree which’s why I said the moo cow gets the blame because of methane when it’s CO2 that’s caused this.

Eryl profile image
Eryl in reply to Jerry

Yes, just think of the huge herds of bison which used to roam the plains of America and similar landcapes around the world and global warming wasn't a problem then because the carbon relaeased by the animals is taken in by the pants which also store carbon in the topsoil

Subtle_badger profile image
Subtle_badger in reply to Eryl

The most immediate thing we should be focussing on with cows and global warming is antibiotics.

Giving cows tetracycline almost doubles the amount of methane in their dung. We need further studies to find out if the same applies to their burps (and farts) and if so, we should be banning the unjustified use of antibiotics. Imagine cutting methane from cows by 45%!

It makes sense; when you gut biome is messed up, you feel all gassy and bloated. Why wouldn't it be the same for cows?

Midori profile image
Midori in reply to Jerry

What would we do without animals to fertilise the land? Go to Monsanto and ICI etc, for their artificial fertilisers.

As WW2 showed us in Britain, we needed the artificial fertilisers at the end of the War as the land was exhausted, because almost all the Farm animals had been slaughtered and marginal land taken into cultivation for vegetable crops.

As we went back into animal farming again, we didn't stop using the artificial Fertilisers, and now they run off the fields when there is excess rain, and slurry pits used by farmers to collect the dung produces gas (useful for biofuel) and overflow, letting raw sewage also flow into rivers, polluting and killing fish.

It would be far better for the land and the animals to have them out at grass, where the dung would be manageable and obviate the need for artificial fertilisers.

(Sorry, I'll climb down from my high horse now!)

Cheers, Midori

absolutely will never eat anything gown in a lab unless is penicillin I can't believe this is even up for discussion.

Seriously - do plants not NEED co21? . . . just putting it out there... I will never eat lab grown meat, it sounds disturbing -

Blueruth profile image
Blueruth in reply to Moomcd

He he he :) how about this?

Moomcd profile image
Moomcd in reply to Blueruth

omg.... that is nasty

Blueruth profile image
Blueruth in reply to Moomcd

I should be dead by the time that becomes a thing.

Midori profile image
Midori in reply to Blueruth

I'll try most things Once, but I'll skip the bugs, thanks! Actually in less developed countries kids collect crickets etc, and cook them as snacks!

Blueruth profile image
Blueruth in reply to Midori

Yep I’ve heard of crickets too. I think you can get them in US. I wouldn’t try Rocky mountain oysters either. It isn’t what you think!

Midori profile image
Midori in reply to Blueruth

I know what they are, I agree, not for me.

Absolutely, Jerry. As a former nurse, I'm appalled at some stuff they sell us as Food.

Now I'm not a fan of ultra processed anything, I like my food recognisable.

I cook from scratch, The only cans in my house are baked beans.

I grow as much as I can, but I'm only a sometimes vegetarian.

Jerry profile image
JerryAdministrator in reply to Midori

Thank you Midori and it’s great because we are now talking and thinking more about what we eat and why. So I think that your choices are very wise as they obviously suit you and that’s what healthy eating is all about. 😊

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