Researchers at the University of Maryland in Baltimore are dishing up the perfect conundrum for vegetarians - meat grown in a laboratory dish, not on the hoof. The researchers say that the technology exists now to produce processed meats such as burgers and sausages, starting with cells taken from cows, chickens, pigs or fish. It would be years, however, before laboratory-raised meat hits the stores.
Growing meat in labs would obviously reduce the need for actual animals, as well as reduce farm-related environmental ills. Such cultured meat could also be tailored to be healthier.
British biologist, Brian J. Ford said, "Public acceptance of meat substitutes such as quorn, a cultured fungus, shows that the time for cultured tissue is near. Techniques for engineering muscle cells have been developed for medical use. Thus researchers are looking into growing edible muscle cells. While early products would probably resemble nuggets, the technology to produce something like a steak, pork chop or chicken breast is still quite away off."
Funny, but I cannot seem to shake the image of Charlton Heston lying on top of that truck carrying the dead into the plant to be processed into the world's food supply -- Soyent Green!