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Author Topic: Food: Lab grown meat  (Read 2260 times)

Hariti

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Lab grown meat
« on: August 29, 2018, 05:50:33 pm »
So, anyone following American news probably knows that there has been a lot of discussion lately about the implications of lab grown meat and how it should be regulated.

The problem is, that these discussions seem to be between the meat industry and... the meat industry. The entire debate is happening in an echo chamber, between various meat producing companies. You know who isn't being consulted? Scientists. Who else? Religious leaders... or doctors, government officials, or anyone else outside the meat industry. They aren't seeking consumer feedback or expert advice, they're just debating among themselves.

I can personally see a few problems with this. The first, and most alarming, is medical; many people are arguing that it's deceptive to call lab grown meat "meat" because people might prefer "real" meat from a slaughtered animal. However, from a purely biological and chemical point of view, "meat" is an accurate description. If the term "meat" is banned when referring to this substance, I'm afraid that this will *actually* endanger customers. The reason? Allergies:

I know first hand how dangerous meat related allergies can be. I have a co-worker who can't eat, or even touch, fish without his air-pipes constricting and suffocating him! I also have an uncle who was bitten by a "Lone Star Tick" and developed a sensitivity to alpha-galactose; if he eats red meat, he goes into shock!

If products that are grown in a lab, but which are chemically identical to "real" meat, are put on the shelf without being labeled as meat (the very thing some people claim would -protect- customers), people could be in very real, medical danger. Hell, people could DIE!

That's not even getting into the ethical questions. Would it be Kosher to eat this meat? If it would, would it count as Fleishig or Pareve? Would it be Hallal? It was never slaughtered. Would it be "vegan" or "vegetarian," would it be safe for Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains to consume?

I know that I wouldn't be happy if I accidentally consumed lab grown meat! I don't think almighty Shiva would be particularly happy with me for eating it, either! If they decide that it can't be labelled "meat," that's just one ore thing I need to watch out for when shopping, and it's already hard enough to find vegetarian food in Kentucky!

For all of these reasons, both to protect religious minorities and to protect people with health issues, I think it *should* be called meat. However, it should also be clear that it was never part of an animal, so as to protect other religious minorities, and to generally protect customers who are frightened or offended by the idea of lab grown meat... lab. grown. meat.

3 little words that would solve everyone's problem. I don't understand the debate over whether or not to call it meat, when the sensibly thing would be to requite ALL THREE words to be clearly printed on the packaging.

Don't pretend it's not meat. Don't pretend it IS meat. Just label it accurately as "Lab grown beef," "Lab grown Pork," "Lab grown Salmon," etc. and avoid confusing or deceiving anyone. Let the customer decide for themselves where they stand on this issue, and don't try to trick them or force them to accept the views of the meat industry. It's safer, it's more ethical, it's more honest.

What are your thoughts on the issue? You agree? Disagree? Have something to add?
 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:43:23 pm by RandallS »
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2018, 04:02:52 am »
So, anyone following American news probably knows that there has been a lot of discussion lately about the implications of lab grown meat and how it should be regulated.

The problem is, that these discussions seem to be between the meat industry and... the meat industry. The entire debate is happening in an echo chamber, between various meat producing companies. You know who isn't being consulted? Scientists. Who else? Religious leaders... or doctors, government officials, or anyone else outside the meat industry. They aren't seeking consumer feedback or expert advice, they're just debating among themselves.

I can personally see a few problems with this. The first, and most alarming, is medical; many people are arguing that it's deceptive to call lab grown meat "meat" because people might prefer "real" meat from a slaughtered animal. However, from a purely biological and chemical point of view, "meat" is an accurate description. If the term "meat" is banned when referring to this substance, I'm afraid that this will *actually* endanger customers. The reason? Allergies:

I know first hand how dangerous meat related allergies can be. I have a co-worker who can't eat, or even touch, fish without his air-pipes constricting and suffocating him! I also have an uncle who was bitten by a "Lone Star Tick" and developed a sensitivity to alpha-galactose; if he eats red meat, he goes into shock!

If products that are grown in a lab, but which are chemically identical to "real" meat, are put on the shelf without being labeled as meat (the very thing some people claim would -protect- customers), people could be in very real, medical danger. Hell, people could DIE!

That's not even getting into the ethical questions. Would it be Kosher to eat this meat? If it would, would it count as Fleishig or Pareve? Would it be Hallal? It was never slaughtered. Would it be "vegan" or "vegetarian," would it be safe for Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains to consume?

I know that I wouldn't be happy if I accidentally consumed lab grown meat! I don't think almighty Shiva would be particularly happy with me for eating it, either! If they decide that it can't be labelled "meat," that's just one ore thing I need to watch out for when shopping, and it's already hard enough to find vegetarian food in Kentucky!

For all of these reasons, both to protect religious minorities and to protect people with health issues, I think it *should* be called meat. However, it should also be clear that it was never part of an animal, so as to protect other religious minorities, and to generally protect customers who are frightened or offended by the idea of lab grown meat... lab. grown. meat.

3 little words that would solve everyone's problem. I don't understand the debate over whether or not to call it meat, when the sensibly thing would be to requite ALL THREE words to be clearly printed on the packaging.

Don't pretend it's not meat. Don't pretend it IS meat. Just label it accurately as "Lab grown beef," "Lab grown Pork," "Lab grown Salmon," etc. and avoid confusing or deceiving anyone. Let the customer decide for themselves where they stand on this issue, and don't try to trick them or force them to accept the views of the meat industry. It's safer, it's more ethical, it's more honest.

What are your thoughts on the issue? You agree? Disagree? Have something to add?
The fear of science in this country really has to stop. So what if it didn't come from a live animal and science and chemicals were involved? If it is structurally and chemically identical to animal meat, then it's meat. Calm down anti GMO people.

I see this as incredible for a number of reasons

- it prevents food scarcity. Assuming of course manufacturers don't artificially restrict supply.
- it reduces the environmental impact of cattle farming
- it's more humane since it's just engineered tissue instead of something that once lived and thought and felt.
- I bet it tastes great
- less risk of disease and better quality control

But no, oooo, science is scary and bad, they put fish genes in your tomatoes so they are more resistant to disease and will feed more people but no ooooooo scary frankenfishmatos

Labelling is fine but people should be aware that science is generally trying to make things better.

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Hariti

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 02:47:22 pm »
The fear of science in this country really has to stop. So what if it didn't come from a live animal and science and chemicals were involved? If it is structurally and chemically identical to animal meat, then it's meat. Calm down anti GMO people.

I agree. Some Christian fundamentalists think it's against God to modify organisms, which I can respect (even if I disagree), but the vast majority of people who oppose GMOs, Lab Meat, etc. are merely disinformed and think that it's either unhealthy, bad for the environment, or both. They don't have ethical objections, they have pseudoscientific, borderline paranoid objections.

As for myself, I wouldn't eat it, for purely religious reasons. I don't eat normal meat either, for the same reasons, and I feel like eating lab meat would be cheating my God (and I think he would notice, and not be happy about it). I don't object to them selling it, though, as long as they label it as being, chemically, meat.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Uneryx

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 02:57:37 pm »
As for myself, I wouldn't eat it, for purely religious reasons. I don't eat normal meat either, for the same reasons, and I feel like eating lab meat would be cheating my God (and I think he would notice, and not be happy about it). I don't object to them selling it, though, as long as they label it as being, chemically, meat.

Valid and fair! And I solidly agree with your original points about labelling being important for people who do have dietary restrictions (whether those restrictions are self-imposed or a matter of health).

For me, I would happily eat lab-grown meat because my only objection to eating animals is humanitarian ones. I do it because I get very cranky without meat, but try to be mindful of where my food came from. If lab-grown meat was widely commercially available I don't think I'd ever eat meat from a living creature again.

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2018, 03:25:54 pm »

But no, oooo, science is scary and bad, they put fish genes in your tomatoes so they are more resistant to disease and will feed more people but no ooooooo scary frankenfishmatos


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Many members of my family are allergic to fish but love tomatoes. What about them?


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Uneryx

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2018, 05:44:59 pm »
Many members of my family are allergic to fish but love tomatoes. What about them?


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In any GMO, scientists are isolating a small strand of DNA. This enables them to create a resistance or size improvement or general benefit, without replicating things that would be harmful. GMO tomatoes do not have the proteins/allergens.

Think of it like this. If you have two lego sets, and you really like the laser turret pieces from the space ship but want to basically have a pirate ship but with flamethrowers, you can take the laser pieces and stick them in the pirate ship cannons. It's still a pirate ship, everything is basically the same, but now you have laser cannons. You didn't put the aliens and chrome floors of the space ship in there, just the lasers.

That's an oversimplification, but that's the basic gist of genetics. Taking the base building blocks and constructing something new or enhancing what was already there.

For sheer lawsuit reasons, a company creating GMO produce isn't going to put something on the market that will cause a widespread allergy like fish/shellfish to be present in their product because then their investment in the fancy process won't sell and they'll have to deal with a lawsuit.

Hariti

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2018, 01:31:32 am »
Many members of my family are allergic to fish but love tomatoes. What about them?

Gene manipulation is a controlled process. If it's done by professionals, in a supervised environment, and the product is thoroughly tested before being put on a shelf, there is no risk of accidentally adding allergens.

Despite what the media portrays it as, it's actually a very safe science, not some sort of Frankenstein's monster.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2018, 02:07:30 am »
In any GMO, scientists are isolating a small strand of DNA. This enables them to create a resistance or size improvement or general benefit, without replicating things that would be harmful. GMO tomatoes do not have the proteins/allergens.

Think of it like this. If you have two lego sets, and you really like the laser turret pieces from the space ship but want to basically have a pirate ship but with flamethrowers, you can take the laser pieces and stick them in the pirate ship cannons. It's still a pirate ship, everything is basically the same, but now you have laser cannons. You didn't put the aliens and chrome floors of the space ship in there, just the lasers.

That's an oversimplification, but that's the basic gist of genetics. Taking the base building blocks and constructing something new or enhancing what was already there.

For sheer lawsuit reasons, a company creating GMO produce isn't going to put something on the market that will cause a widespread allergy like fish/shellfish to be present in their product because then their investment in the fancy process won't sell and they'll have to deal with a lawsuit.
Bottom line, I would need proof before I let my allergic daughter eat them - I prefer her alive


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Hariti

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2018, 02:32:40 am »
Bottom line, I would need proof before I let my allergic daughter eat them - I prefer her alive

I respect your right to restrict your diet however you want. Nobody is going to make you eat GMOs, and there are plenty of non-modified alternatives on the market today.

However, if you actually want proof, and aren't just saying that, it's easy enough to find. There are plenty of free, online articles and video resources about genetic manipulation and how it works. It's very well documented and surprisingly straight forward.

I've actually *done* gene modification myself, with bacteria, in an undergraduate biology course at university. I inserted a gene from a jellyfish into them, so they would glow in the dark. The reason I mention this is to show precisely how simple the process is to understand; I'm not a biologist, I'm a historian, and I was still able to learn and comprehend what gene modification is and how it works, rather easily.

Don't stay in the dark and live in fear, inform yourself! There's nothing in a GMO that wasn't intentionally put there. There are no accidental or unwanted gene transfers documented in commercially grown GMO products. They take only the part they need and nothing else, they don'y allow complex strands of genetic material from one organism to get into another.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2018, 02:16:25 pm »
I respect your right to restrict your diet however you want. Nobody is going to make you eat GMOs, and there are plenty of non-modified alternatives on the market today.

However, if you actually want proof, and aren't just saying that, it's easy enough to find. There are plenty of free, online articles and video resources about genetic manipulation and how it works. It's very well documented and surprisingly straight forward.

I've actually *done* gene modification myself, with bacteria, in an undergraduate biology course at university. I inserted a gene from a jellyfish into them, so they would glow in the dark. The reason I mention this is to show precisely how simple the process is to understand; I'm not a biologist, I'm a historian, and I was still able to learn and comprehend what gene modification is and how it works, rather easily.

Don't stay in the dark and live in fear, inform yourself! There's nothing in a GMO that wasn't intentionally put there. There are no accidental or unwanted gene transfers documented in commercially grown GMO products. They take only the part they need and nothing else, they don'y allow complex strands of genetic material from one organism to get into another.
Just found this -
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/allergies-and-gmos/

I can see the science community seems to be on both sides of the fence, but I picked that article because it is from Harvard University. Not to be sneezed at.

Do not assume that I am science phobic or ignorant just because I prefer wait until something has a chance to work out in the world, not just in the lab. Ask those people whose mother’s took thalidomide for morning sickness in the late 50’s. 


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Hariti

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2018, 07:32:11 pm »
I can see the science community seems to be on both sides of the fence, but I picked that article because it is from Harvard University. Not to be sneezed at.

This article is not anti-GMO, it's pro GMO labelling, which is a fundamentally different thing. It also mentions directly, within the article itself, the high degree of regulation used to ensure that no allergens are transferred:

From the article you linked; emphasis added by me
"Ninety percent of food allergies are caused by the common allergens in peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, and fish[9]. In 1996, researchers found that the main allergen from Brazil nuts retains its allergenicity after being transferred into a GMO soybean; the Brazil nut GMO soybean has never been approved for the market, and this case helped establish the policy that any protein that has been shown or even suspected to cause an allergic reaction should never be introduced into a GMO crops. According to the international principles of food safety (FAO/WHO), before any GMO food gets market approval, the structure of the introduced protein should be compared to all known allergens. Potential allergenicity is then further analyzed with comprehensive experiments. Additionally, as part of post-marketing monitoring, randomly sampled consumers are examined to detect previously unidentified allergenicity. Currently, around 30 GMO crops have received approval in the US, and most of our corn, soybeans, and cotton are GMO crops. To date, no allergens have been found in GMO products approved for human consumption."

There's no reason to think a fish allergen would sneak into a tomato, when the law requires that all known allergens be checked for in the product before it reaches the market. Nothing like that has ever gotten past the lab testing phase, and there are thorough measures in place to ensure it never does.

Allergens are specific substances. They aren't just the nebulous essence of a particular food; you can have a fish allergy and be fine consuming 99% of the chemicals found in fish, because you are allergic to a specific compound found in fish, not fish itself. If someone uses fish genes to genetically alter a tomato, they can easily test to see if any of the allergenic compounds are present in the resultant tomato. If they are, the product is never going to see the light of day, if they aren't, then it's totally safe and can't hurt anyone.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2018, 04:54:02 pm »
- it prevents food scarcity. Assuming of course manufacturers don't artificially restrict supply.
- it reduces the environmental impact of cattle farming
- it's more humane since it's just engineered tissue instead of something that once lived and thought and felt.
- I bet it tastes great
- less risk of disease and better quality control

I'd have no problem with lab-grown meat from a food safety point of view, and I agree that it would be more humane. Conceptually it's come up in any number of sci-fi settings an is far from the least appetizing approach to nutrition to be found there.

I'm not so sure about reducing environmental impact, though; the meat would still need nutrients in order to grow, and it can't chew its own food: crops would have to be extensively processed before they could be fed to the vat meat. Likewise, it would still produce waste products (CO2, urea) which would need to be filtered out and disposed of. It all seems quite energy-intensive.

Also, muscle that has been exercised generally has more flavor and texture than unused muscle. So that might be an issue, unless the vat produces basically ground beef. Which, considering how much of that gets consumed, might be a practical way to use this technology.

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Re: Lab grown meat
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2018, 07:36:59 pm »
I'd have no problem with lab-grown meat from a food safety point of view, and I agree that it would be more humane. Conceptually it's come up in any number of sci-fi settings an is far from the least appetizing approach to nutrition to be found there.

I'm not so sure about reducing environmental impact, though; the meat would still need nutrients in order to grow, and it can't chew its own food: crops would have to be extensively processed before they could be fed to the vat meat. Likewise, it would still produce waste products (CO2, urea) which would need to be filtered out and disposed of. It all seems quite energy-intensive.

Also, muscle that has been exercised generally has more flavor and texture than unused muscle. So that might be an issue, unless the vat produces basically ground beef. Which, considering how much of that gets consumed, might be a practical way to use this technology.
Grass fed beef is noticeably better than corn fed even as ground beef. But it might not seem different than the really cheap ground beef in the chubs.


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