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09/16/2013

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Thomas Butts

With the tools that technology has created over the past 50 years, scientists and engineers have gone back to the drawing board to ask the question, can I make this better? Whether scientists and engineers evaluate an organic product to determine if they can adopt a more efficient way to create the product or a more economical way to generate the original building blocks of a product, scientists and engineers have started to tinker. Tinkering is a good thing. It allows for the evaluation of a process or product to determine its true impact on society and to determine the market ability of the re-engineered product.
As with most adoptions of new technology, there is a period of discovery and then a period of trial and error. During these periods it is extremely difficult to evaluate the long term effects of a process or product on society or an ecosystem. This does not mean that we should stop evaluating the potential of altering a product for more efficient means of manufacturing. Take for instance the evolution of cell phones. They have evolved over the years in their potential applications and the input elements used to create them. This is evolution. This is tinkering.
As Professor Post stated in Ms. Zaraska article, “Once all of these other components are included in cultured meat there is no reason for it to be less healthy than conventional meat.” This statement should provide us a moment of reassurance that this process is still only in the development phase. No matter how much the potential is touted in bringing this process to market, we all need to take a minute and anchor ourselves in reality and realize the process of growing food in a laboratory or in an industrial sense is still years away. There is still an opportunity for this potential to fail or succeed. But we should not be fearful of this opportunity but embrace the evolution of the process.

Irene Tankelewicz

Oh, gosh, how do I get my hands on some of this frankenmeat? This wonder meat promises lower bad fatty acids and higher good fatty acids! There are even anticipated versions of meat with lower heme iron and L-carnitine! Coming soon, chimpanzee meat! Sure, current in vitro meats do not have the nutrients essential for good health but “they” are looking into it. That is reassuring.

I understand the health effects of eating large quantities of meat. I get that obesity and diabetes are an epidemic, especially in the United States. I also understand the absolute atrocities that are our mega-farms. It disgusts me to know the conditions that these animals live in for their entire lives. It horrifies me that animals on these farms are given antibiotics not because they are ill but to promote growth. What I cannot understand is, is test tube meat really the best we can do? Is there not a better way?

There is a better way. Free range farming is a better way. Instead of spending money to fund endeavors as ridiculous as perfecting in vitro meat, sink money into farming that allows animals to spend their lives in pasture, roaming around, foraging for food, happy as can be. Happy animals are better quality animals. Let them grow as they should, without antibiotics. As an added benefit, use their manure to make crops grow.

Have some patience. Free range farming does not happen overnight and it is not immediately profitable. It is, however, the right thing to do and it is surely a lot less terrifying than the idea of meat grown in a tube.

Maxfield Cenoz

First of all, the first question is false: "Is Lab-grown meat good for us?"

Without asking, one can see how lab-grown meat is good for animals - specifically because we wouldn't have to kill them!

Eating lab-grown meat is simply the alternative to risking the problems associated with conventional animal meat. We're aware of strains of infection, i.e. MRSA, found in animal meat in the U.S., so it's doubly bad for us physiologically to eat conventional meat. The question persists, how do we know what goes into lab-grown meat? Well, we can rest assured that if we use carefully monitored and expensive procedures for in vitro fertilization which decides a human's fate, then it is safe to assume the meat will be as lean, clean and 'green' as possible. (By Green I imply environmentally conscious).

As a vegetarian, a common counter-argument to my dietary decisions comes from meat eaters in the form of: "Well, meat tastes good, don't you miss it?"

What if lab-grown meat tasted EXACTLY the same as conventional animal meat? What if it had less risk and more nutrients? What's stopping meat-eaters from saying "Well, I'm already hurting the environment and animal life by consuming conventional meat, I might as well invest in lab-grown meat which is better for me anyway."

This article covers the common issue of CAFOs risking human well-being as well as ecological and psychological problems associated with ethics (toward animals) and knowledge over what we're ingesting and subsequently how it affects our physiological self.

The take-away point of this whole article is the idea of sterility. With a completely sterile environment, not unlike the facilities which produce needed medicines, what is there to lose by investing in an ethically and physiologically improved method of consumption? Meat grown in a tube is under more scrutiny than the meat surrounded by a chaotic mess of biological processes which are out of our control - unless you want to use antibiotics of course. What's the best result? I vote for the one that spares life.

-Max Cenoz

Glen Stroman

Here are a few points from Readers Digests' book Foods That Harm and Foods that Heal 2004: cherries can provoke allergic reactios in some people; with wheat germ, excessive consumption can cause liver diesease, cancer and birth defects;and turnips may cause flatulence and contain substances that interfer with the production of thyroid harmones. The point here is, like with meat an argument can be made giving reasons for not eating some plant based foods.

I realize that aside from health there are other reasons for not eating meat, but why eat lab-grown meat? Concerning the reasons given in this article while reading,I noticed words and phrases like: "not exactly, if, most likley, conventional wisdom, if consumed, may, is also possible, and there is no reason for it to be less healthy."

There are other protien products being marketed. My guess is they're cheaper too. So, for me it's "no thanks" I'll stay with soy burgers for now and wait for the Food and Drug Administrations approval before I consider it.

Khoi Nguyen

We should decide whether to eat this food just like any other food. You consider the benefits (for the environment, for the animals, for your health - good nutrients and lack of bad substances, ) and the possible costs (its literal cost, its associated risks).

While the immediate negative feelings are understandable, they are nevertheless irrational. Of course this product needs more careful research than usual because it's a new food technology. We need long term studies to determine whether it can affect us in the long terms. That ranges from causing vitamin deficiencies, genetic mutations, being carcinogenic etc. However, if it has been observed to show no harmful effects, then there is absolutely no reason not to eat it. Even if it does not offer the superior nutrition or taste like real meat, it's still a wonderful way to reduce animal cruelty, help the environment and perhaps it's cheaper than real meat.

The whole "natural" sentiment is irrational and unjustified. . Plenty of things in nature are bad for us, and even with benefits have some drawbacks. A good example of that is soy. Similarly, non-natural food-processing like soaking, steaming, cooking, baking can make food more nutritious and facilitate digestion. Medicine is also non-natural. Natural doesn't tell us anything. Denying something simply because it's unnatural is unscientific.

Food wasn't exactly created for human consumption and so it's not perfect for consumption. But we've adapted to the point where it works. If this meat works, why not?

Gabby Cruz

While this whole situation seemed weird to me at first after further reading the article I don't see a problem with this lab grown meat. As others have mentioned it will potentially reduce the amount of cruelty many animals suffer through and offers a healthier version of meat consumed today. However, even with the apparent benefits I don't think that the majority of Americans will even consider it due to the "yuck-factor" many experience.

Ara J.

The major difference between the conventional meat and the lab grown meat would be the health effects: lab grown meat has less of the saturated fat and cholesterol than the average red meat. Of course at this stage of research, it is hard not to qualify for many things. But the uncertainty isn't necessarily something that discredits her argument, as the main focus of this article seems like it is to show people an option to think about.

In my opinion, this is just a twist of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), except it would be "from scratch." We were able to produce an edible material that may be more healthful to our body than what we normally consume. The only negative reaction is stirs is the fact that it's made in a lab (“frankenmeat”). But people don't think about the setting in which the conventional meats are handled in. Unless we find dangerous side effects by consuming this meat, it can be used as a beneficial way in so many different perspectives.

Meena Patne

It seems almost too good to be true. Meat that's sterile, removed of all those nasty, potentially harmful compounds, and grown in an ecologically sustainable way that doesn't cause suffering. Now if only the tastebuds were to be appeased. Really, the only factor even worth considering is the the "ickiness" of lab grown meat. "Will it taste good?" is probably the only thought people are having, since the meat itself is sterilized properly and even modified to be healthier than conventional meat. The healthiness or safety of the meat isn't even an issue. People don't really give much thought to factory farms, to slaughterhouses, to any mechanized process through which living, breathing animals get magically turned into sausages or steaks. Since these areas are cesspools of disease-causing bacteria, to question the lab grown meat as being "not healthy" would be hypocritical. As for free range animals, those walking piles of guts that allegedly roam around happily in miles of freshly mown grass under the sun, there is still the question of proper removal of waste, a pungent reality that is perhaps present in greater quantities due to happi-"er" animals. Waste is a potential bio-hazard, especially the vast heaps that can't be reused in some acceptable way, like manure fertilizer; it's too much! As per USDA regulations, there isn't even a standard that is followed among free range farmers; they could basically claim that since their chickens (free range regulations only apply to poultry) get sunshine for 15 minutes, they're free range.
The only problem I see for lab grown meat is that of taste. And even that can be chemically modified, since humans taste more with their noses than their mouths. To change the perception of "frankenmeat" might be a challenging one, but people will try anything really.

Jasmin Melendez

Firstly, I'd like to say that this idea of lab-grown meat can be beneficial not only to the environment, but on the animals that are mistreated. With lab-grown meat, Zaraska points out that the major differences between conventional and lab meat is that the lab meat will have no saturated fats, no heme iron, or growth hormones. From the meat that we eat now, we face serious health risks like heart disease or diabetes. By having the lab meat, it'll eventually decrease the risk of those health concerns for the community.

By saying this, I don't think it may discredit the idea of me possibly eating this lab-grown meat. The meat we eat now seems more disturbing to eat with how animals are treated and how most animals live in confined spaces. Its unethical. Yet, the major issue that this brings is just the "yuck" factor or how it might taste, but to be able to eat meat from an animal who's been injected with hormones and has possible disease ridden factors is something to consider when we'll know this lab meat will be grown in a sterile environment. I honestly think I'd give it a try. If anything it may taste similar to vegetarian patties, which in my opinion don't taste all that bad.

James Romero

Bring on the test-tube burgers! While the concerns on how lab-grown foods affect our health are with merit, they should not keep us from developing the technology. Fear should never triumph over the pursuit of knowledge, especially knowledge which may improve our environment. As it is, a laboratory is the only place where you have the chance of finding chemically pure foods. All food produced for mass consumption has some form of impurity in it, we now have the chance of eliminating the causes of many diseases, simply by using what comes naturally to humans, the ability to manipulate nature.

Vanessa Vega

In response to Jasmin Melendez post, I agree with her. We can get many benefits from grown-lab meats; one of the most important is getting rid of CAFOs. CAFOs pollute our environment and are responsive for human deaths yearly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state, "Meat and poultry are the most common food sources of fatal infections, responsible for 29 percent of food-poisoning related deaths in the U.S., largely due to Salmonella and Listeria infections." If we have been consuming unhealthy meat all these years, the invention of this meat will benefit us. This is not a bad idea; most of the food we consume has been alter one way of another. When we eat factory farm meat, we are consuming dosages of hormones and antibiotics. There is no such thing as good meat now, unless people raise their own cattle.
Another great benefit from this meat is that since it will be grown in labs there will be better sanitation. It is easier to keep a lab-grown patty free of bacteria than a herd of animals. We will no longer have to worry about whether the animal was ill before being killed. If lab-growing meat becomes the new process of making meat perhaps it will seize factory farms. This would probably trigger farms to properly take care of their animals. Farms will have no other choice then to raise good meat that people will actually want to consume. Is like a competition, if these lab-grown meats are being made healthy and beneficially, people will want to consume what is best for them. Therefore, if some people do not want to consume the grown-lab meat, they will be able to buy fresh meat once again.

Vanessa Vega

In response to Jasmin Melendez post, I agree with her. We can get many benefits from grown-lab meats; one of the most important is getting rid of CAFOs. CAFOs pollute our environment and are responsive for human deaths yearly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state, "Meat and poultry are the most common food sources of fatal infections, responsible for 29 percent of food-poisoning related deaths in the U.S., largely due to Salmonella and Listeria infections." If we have been consuming unhealthy meat all these years that have been the cause of human deaths yearly, the invention of this meat will benefit us. This is not a bad idea; most of the food we consume has been alter one way of another in labs. When we eat factory farm meat, we are consuming dosages of hormones and antibiotics. There is no such thing as good meat now, unless people raise their own cattle.

Another great benefit from this meat is that since it will be grown in labs there will be better sanitation. It is easier to keep a lab-grown patty free of bacteria than a herd of animals. We will no longer have to worry about whether the animal was ill before being killed while consuming the meat. If lab-growing meat becomes the new process of making meat perhaps it will seize factory farms. This would probably trigger farms to properly take care of their animals. Farms will have no other choice then to raise good meat that people will actually want to consume. Is like a competition, if these lab-grown meats are being made healthy and are beneficial people will want to consume what is best for them. Therefore, if some people do not want to consume the grown-lab meat, they will be able to buy fresh meat once again.

Sydney Morris

While I agree with Thomas and James that we should continue to research and improve technology before we label cultured meat as either good or bad for us, I think it is important to note that it will be years before this test-tube meat becomes available to the public, if it ever does. However, if it does, I do not think we should do away with regular meat entirely. Irene made a great point about how free-range farming leads to healthier and happier animals. Using this version of farming over CAFOs is more humane and will help prevent the bacteria produced by stressed animals. In addition, incorporating traditional meat raised in a proper way with the cultured meat would allow for optimum health. We will still be getting the healthy nutrients from traditional meat while cutting down on our intake of saturated fats thanks to the test-tube meat.

Jessica Holanda

Lab-grown meat is definitely an interesting approach to combat the poorly raised livestock in America. Not only can we manipulate the nutrient content of lab-meat, but it is actually edible. however I am skeptical many Americans would turn to only this method when faced with the craving of a good steak. Raising livestock is still a traditional and cultural staple in America. Many family's lives revolve around the farm because it is also a chosen lifestyle specifically to distance themselves from the absurdity of society's conventional ways. There will be a significant difference on how our bodies may respond to a completely new product, especially one that was never consumed in human history. Our bodies seem to know what is truly real and what has been made by human hands. We also would not be giving future generations a chance to interact with real livestock and their natural environment. It would also get in the way of proper education which is introducing what meat actually is and that is not from a container in the grocery store. If an individual is really concerned with health risks they know better to have a specific product in moderation as well.

Karli Wilson

Lab-grown meat is an interesting thing to be using the new technology we have to create, but it makes sense to an extent. If we take a look at the poor conditions a lot of animals are brought up in, it seems like this type of meat would be a lot safer, not to mention healthier considering scientists can control what goes in to the meat, and what comes out. I, personally, don’t think I’d ever eat it, especially considering I’m not much of a meat eater to begin with, but I do see the good that could come out of this. The only unfortunate side of this, if the meat does get as good of feedback as the scientists are probably hoping for someday, many farmers of these livestock will more than likely be put out of business. The demand for real meat will probably still be there, so not everyone will lose their jobs, but in our society, with so many people wanting to be healthier, I think this lab-grown meat may become very popular, especially if it really is as healthy as they say it will be.

Chaila Allen

This was a very convincing and interesting article. The living conditions of farm raised animals is alarming, not to mention how much land the farms occupy. "Frankenmeat" seems like a safe alternative to the issue, however we cannot yet see the risks that may be hidden. Although farm practices are disturbing, they are big large part of human history and nature. If we no longer need these animals, what may become of them? I don't think we should do anyway with farm raised meat entirely, however there are some very big changes that need to be made to farm-raised meat production. I definitely think that finding new, healthy alternatives food production is a great idea, and we should continue to develop the technology to create it. While I do support these actions, I will probably stick to grass fed, free range meat.

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