What is fake meat?

2010-08-21 00:00

NOT to be confused with imitation meat eaten by vegetarians, which is made from plant protein like soya or gluten, this kind of fake meat is known as in vitro, artificial, synthetic or cultured meat. It is animal flesh that has never been part of a complete, living animal. According to Wikipedia, several research projects are currently growing in vitro meat experimentally, although none has yet been produced for public consumption.

Since meat is animal muscle, developing in vitro meat involves applying a protein to muscle cells to help those cells to grow into a large portion of meat. Once the initial cells have been obtained, more animals would not be needed as in the production of yogurt cultures.

According to Martin Prozesky, an independent applied ethics consultant and professor emeritus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, although all proposals of sustainable ways of improving the world’s food supplies, protein especially, must be taken seriously, “We must also ask if the proposed measures are not worse than the problems.”

Our current reliance on animals raised for slaughter as the source of most of the world’s protein “comes with a massive financial, environmental and ethical cost. Huge amounts of grain are used as animal feed, with a related drain on scarce water resources. Methane is released from animal dung and further pollutes the atmosphere. Forests are obliterated to make way for grazing lands, often on thin soils. The poor see little or nothing of the juicy steaks this process delivers, while the wealthy face severe problems of obesity.

“If protein can be produced sustainably in vats and seen as just that — artificial protein and not as artificial meat — then it might make a significant difference to the problems associated with the consumption of animal protein.

“But worries remain. Is this not another example of the worship of technology? And does it not miss the most important ethical point of all: the need for all of us to live in ways that are more just and more sustainable, with a special need for the rich to consume less greedily and push back the horrific frontiers of poverty?”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.