As urban gardening is only starting to take off in Singapore, science is already well beyond digging in the dirt. It is no secret that food scientists around the world have toyed with the idea of artificially creating food. We are not just taking about genetically modified plants and seeds that grow faster (which is already put into practice), but food that is entirely grown in a laboratory. Wagyu beef from the petri dish?
How to Grow Wagyu Beef?
There used to be an easy answer – feed a cow, slaughter her, and eat the meat. However, lab-grown meat already exists and was first done in 2013. The most successful way to grow meat to date is by harvesting stem cells from cows. These cells function as a building block for the meat. First muscle tissue is taken from a living cow, then the muscle cells are separated from the rest and cultivated in a petri dish (hmm yummy). Scientists then can grow 1 trillion of these cells with just the one from the cow. The muscle cells will group and form bigger organism within a gel-like liquid.
The current lab-grown burgers are smaller, paler in colour and blander in taste. While colour and size can be improved, the taste, according to scientists, isn’t likely to get better. The first lab-grown meat did cost US$ 325.000 and has dropped to US$ 11 at the moment. Compared to a Big Mac that is still quite pricy. But you really don’t want to eat one of those either, if you know what a Big Mac can do to you.
It seems as if we can’t really stop lab-grown meat from being produced (unless you are going to protest really heavily and many others). However, you will have a choice. This choice isn’t however between lab-grown or mass-produced meat. There are other options, such as organically grown meat. The biggest problem that consumers face nowadays is that we don’t really know anymore where our meat (or other food) comes from. Although the package might state a country of origin, but you don’t really know how is was produced.
Local chefs, like Shalu Asnani, always recommend to source your ingredients locally. That way you can assure quality, taste and sustainability.
… is screwed already. If you have done research on how your meat is mass-produced, then you know what I mean. Mainstream media, such as the Wall Street Journal, have hence proclaimed lab-grown meat as the meat of the future, as it is apparently more environmentally friendly. One needs less grass, water and land to produce it. Growing ‘real’ cows requires 11 times more water than any other livestock. WWF believes that lab-grown meat will cheaper and more efficient for our ever-growing population.
The choice will however remain with us. No matter whether one supports the lab-grown meat development or not, you will have the choice not to eat it. The same way you have the choice over whether to eat a Big Mac or not. Let’s see what the future will bring to us.