Sep 01, 2011 9:34 PM GMT
Well, er, it would be the environmentally friendly alternative - except for the fact that it's currently white.
Scientists are on the verge of creating pain-free meat. The very thought of it could end the epic war that's been raging between PETA and, well, everyone else. There's a new meat producer being developed overseas and no killing's involved, just growth—like a plant.
Mark Post, a scientist at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands, believes that a meat breakthrough is on the way. In six months, we could have our first taste of "lab-grown sausage!" Post has experimented with pig cells and has found a way to nurture and grow them in a lab setting.
So far, he has created strips of muscle-like tissue that are about 2.5 centimeters long and 0.7 centimeters wide. He gives them plenty of T.L.C., which includes exercise so they can gain the consistency of real muscle. But at the moment, he claims the strips are lacking the right color, which is a dead giveaway that they're fake.
"It's white because there's no blood in it, and very little myoglobin, the iron-bearing protein," he says. "We are looking at ways to build up the myoglobin content to give it color."
What if Post is able to copy the pig muscle accurately? On a cellular level, it's amazing, but what about the taste? Before we get too up in arms about this, there are a lot of hoops the meat will have to jump through before hitting our shelves. Funding for the research is limited, so Post doesn't have access to all the cells he needs, plus there are countless FDA tests, as well as naysayers who think the whole process is just creepy.
As for PETA, they put out a bid of $1 million for first dibs on the synthetic meat when it hits the market. (Why are we not surprised?) With the right funding, Post thinks we "can have a hamburger in a year."