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Slashdot Asks: Would You Eat Lab-Grown Meat? ( 351

An anonymous reader writes from a report via WIRED: Lab-grown meat appears to be coming to a supermarket near you whether you like it or not. Granted, you have some time before that becomes a reality. Scientists in Belgium and the United States are working on cultured meat substitutes that taste like real meat and cost less than real meat, but don't use as many environmental resources as meat from animals, nor does it involve the slaughtering of animals. They predict such meat substitutes will cost a lot less by the year 2020 when the efficiency of bulk production kicks in. According to a 2014 Pew poll, only 20 percent of Americans would be willing to try cultured meat, while a 2013 survey in Belgium revealed that just 13 percent of 180 subjects knew what cultured meat was. Also, vegetarians surveyed perceived man-made meat to be unhealthy and unfavorable. However, once respondents were told how the meat is grown, most said they might try it. When educated about the environmental benefits, the number of people who were willing to try it nearly doubled. A poll from The Vegan Scholar found that lab-grown meat was much more appealing to vegetarians than to vegans. Similar Reddit and SurveyMonkey polls have come to similar conclusions, but it's important to note that none of these polls were peer-reviewed. Researchers have suggested that the media greatly overestimates the importance of vegetarian and vegan opinions on lab-grown meat. Given the lack of large surveys determining the public's opinion on lab-grown meat, we thought we would pose the question to Slashdotters: Would you eat lab-grown meat?
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Slashdot Asks: Would You Eat Lab-Grown Meat?

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  • yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:22PM (#52521387)
    with soylent
  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:23PM (#52521393)

    Raise pigs in a lab? What's the problem? I'd eat them.

    I'd need a _big_ lab to raise some blue whale for steaks.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:41PM (#52521505)

      Travel to Japan

      I think they even let you pick your whale out of the tank.

      • I've eaten whale meat and I've also seen it being sold in Japan. Very few Japanese have ever tasted whale meat let alone liked it. It's not particularly good, and frankly you need to finish the whole experience with a vodka shot.

        • I have also tasted whale meat at a restaurant in Japan. It was not very good. Kobe beef is way better. I don't understand why Japan makes such a big deal out of whale harvesting, since even their own people have little interest in eating them.

          Disclaimer: I did not order the whale meat. Someone else at the table did, and they offered me a bite. I am a vegetarian now, although I was not at the time.

      • They're farm-raising blue-fin tuna, not particularly efficient in terms of calories per dollar, but promises to be profitable nonetheless.

  • Heck yes, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zelig ( 73519 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:25PM (#52521401) Homepage

    Cheaper, more energy efficient, and before long superior in taste and tone. Slam dunk.

    I can just imagine cutting a slice off a 1'x2' meat beam; cover THE ENTIRE GRILL with a fillet. Yums, yums.

    • Same here. Been waiting for that for decades.

    • Considering the lack of trust people have for GMO crops, I think this one is right the hell out.
      • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

        That's fine, all the more for us. Kobe ground prime rib burgers 24x7.

      • Oddly enough, although I'm leery of GMO foods, I'd be happy to eat lab-grown meat. I know that's totally self-contradictory, but such are the vagaries of human preferences. My feelings may stem in part from factory farming practices; they are horribly cruel and cause incalculable suffering. I'd like to enjoy my meat without the accompanying feelings of guilt, and lab-grown meat promises that.

    • []

      215,000 british pounds for a hamburger.

      • Re:Cheaper ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Intron ( 870560 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:58PM (#52521593)

        What would your laptop with 4GB memory have cost 20 years ago?

        • What did my car cost 40 years ago in constant dollars ?

          • Come on dude, you're obviously comparing an essentially mature technology against one that was still rapidly developing. Once Moore's law has reached its end, computing hardware prices will stabilize for the performance offered similar to what's happened with your car.

            Lab grown meat is obviously still in the prototype phase right now, and pricing reflects that. Once economies of scale are introduced, and production efficiencies are realized, price per volume will quite predictably plummet. This is basic eco

        • P.S. Who uses a 4 gig of ram laptop. 8 is a minimum 16 preferred. 4 is what id use on a tablet.

    • "before long superior in taste and tone" That part's a pipe dream and an oxymoron if you're imitating meat.

      • Re:Heck yes, (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TooManyNames ( 711346 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @08:28PM (#52521841)

        Why is that? Are there no grades of meat in your world?

        If you set out to surpass the best quality meat available, then maybe you might have a point, but, assuming you can observe and economically reproduce what makes that meat so great, why wouldn't you be able to approach it's quality with cultured meat? At some point, given production efficiencies that would be introduced, cultured meat that closely approximates very high quality meat would be cheaper than low quality meat that's used today. At that point, you'd be comparing crappy real meat against exceptional cultured meat, so, yeah, you'd have something that, at a given price, is superior in taste and tone.

    • I don't see why we should avoid it.
      We get the food we want the nutritional requirements better on the environment and we don't need to kill a feeling animal.
      I am an omnivore but I feel better if my food was better overall

    • In full agreement. I really don't understand why people are so opposed to cultured meat, but, then again, I don't know why people are so opposed to GM food, even in theory (though I'm not saying that there can't be bad players involved). I guess it comes down to, "it's unnatural, so it's evil!" Never mind the hypocrisy of posting a critique along those lines, or even, you know, existing.
  • YES! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:26PM (#52521407)

    In fact, I am looking forward to it. I do not like how animals are treated, in general, and in order to provide meat for us, in particular. However, I love meat, and I can't wait for meat synthetically grown in a lab to become available. It will of course be outrageously expensive to begin with, but hopefully it will not take too long for prices to come down to something reasonable. At any rate, I'd be willing to pay a premium for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sexconker ( 1179573 )

      You can buy real meat today that comes from animals treated humanely, if not downright well. Yes, they're still slaughtered at some point. If you're willing to pay a premium, you can do it now.

      • Yeah, an insane premium on a very dubious and highly inconsistent increase of quality. I'll pass, now bring me a lab burger.
      • Just go hunting or fishing. Instead of the animal being raised in captivity under human domination its entire life, the animal lives and grows free to do whatever it wants for nearly all of its life. It's only last few minutes or seconds where it's dominated by humans.
  • Yes I would. Next question?
  • At present, I probably wouldn't eat cultured tissue just because it's wildly expensive and only available in teeny little bits because the cardiovascular system is there for a reason in mammals; but if the tech were worked out what possible objection would there be to it?

    Cruelty-free, so long as you don't grow the brain; and quite probably a lot cleaner than the authentically-butchered-in-its-own-entrails-and-hopefully-not-too-feces-smeared natural stuff. Less chance to pick up cool parasites and stuff i
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      But what about the poor BSE? Won't somebody please think of the BSE? Quasi-living self-replicating chemicals have rights too!

  • Specially if it ends up costing a fraction of the "real deal".

  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:33PM (#52521443) Journal

    If was traveling in a space ship to Mars: Yes.
    If was living on Mars: Yes.

    Otherwise: no way.

    I'm not "addicted" to meat. I eat what I find tasty an what I consider ethical ok.

    And no: I don't eat tofu meat Ersatz either.

  • How does it taste? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:33PM (#52521445)

    I'm assuming it tastes like chicken, in which case put me down for "yes".

    If it tastes like beef, well, that's another yes.

    Pork? mmmm... No, I think not.

    Rubber? Definite no for that.

    Any other options to be considered? Doubt they'd start with alligator (which would be a "yes") or salmon (another "yes") or elephant ("maybe?")....

  • I am not as radical as most vegetarians about this stuff with being cruel to animals and stuff, but I do care about the environment, and having lab grown meat on the table would mean that we could use the resources on the earth more effectively. Already now we know that the developing countries rather shouldn't adopt the meat eating habits of the western world.

    So yes, its a good idea. Would I eat it? If it will taste as good as real meat, then yes.

    So definitely a thing to look forward to.

    • I am not as radical as most vegetarians about this stuff with being cruel to animals and stuff, but I do care about the environment, and having lab grown meat on the table would mean that we could use the resources on the earth more effectively. Already now we know that the developing countries rather shouldn't adopt the meat eating habits of the western world.

      So yes, its a good idea. Would I eat it? If it will taste as good as real meat, then yes.

      So definitely a thing to look forward to.

      There is something to be said for the environmental angle. As we race to prove Malthus wrong again, we'll need to do something akin to this - eventually you can't have people and their meat occupy the exact same space, so fields must be turned into human habitat. I see the future as lab grown meat and vat grown algae as the vegetable.

      Well, that sounds a little gloomy, but its a ways off. Since I am a dedicated Omnivore, but I do care about the treatment of animals, so hell yeah, I'll eat lab grown meat.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @07:40PM (#52521495)
    Phil and Lem grew meat in the lab in Season 1, Episode 2, "Heroes". From some of the better quotes []
    • Jerome [tasting meat made in lab]: It tastes familiar.
    • Ted: Beef?
    • Jerome: No.
    • Linda: Chicken? We'll take chicken.
    • Ted: What does it taste like?
    • Jerome: Despair.
    • Ted: Is it possible it just needs salt?
  • At fIrst I'd only eat a bit here and there and let other people pig out on it for a few years so they come down with any issues first.
    (I've already pulled by weight as guinea pig by over-consuming artificial sweeteners)

  • Watch that 20% balloon if it ever gets cheaper than the real thing. There are people on food stamps and in college just waiting for this, even if it sucks. Just about everyone will try it, and if it's not total garbage, I'd bet about 80% stick with it. That number will probably wind up fluctuating in lockstep with unemployment rates.
  • People will eat it if it is cheaper and reasonable tasting.

    My issue is that I'm old-school and think that generally meat tastes better on the fatty side and cooked on the bone, but I'm probably in the minority. For those that prefer sterile low-fat off-the-bone preparations, it'll probably get good enough, soon enough.

    I suspect that early on it won't be that much different than the relationship of Crab and Surimi/Krab. Maybe it will get better over time.

    In China, the spread of Buddhism basically lead to

    • Is there any reason they can't make it fatty and on the bone?

      I assume if it's lab-grown, it sill needs nutrients. Still needs a circulatory system of a sorts, nervous system to twitch and build muscle, etc. Might as well grow a tube of muscle on a bone with marrow in it, and hook all that shit up. You can control the texture, the fat content, marbling, etc. That's where I see this being amazing.

      If every cut was essentially the "perfect cut", how awesome would that be? I've had good meat, a

  • i would definitely try it if it was "safe" and see if it tastes just as good, if so why not?!

  • I don't have a problem with GMO food, but IMHO vat grown meat is a huge departure from what we usually eat. I'd try it, but I'd probably be cautious eating a lot of it until maybe 10-20 years after it came on the market.

    Then again, according to the insurance companies there's a 50% chance I'll be dead in 15 years.
  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @08:04PM (#52521623) Homepage Journal

    Eventually, lab-grown meat-like mystery goo will be better tasting, cheaper, healthier, disease/parasite-free, nicely textured, and more conveniently shaped compared to meat grown from real live animals tortured in cramped, feces-covered pens. Also when compared to grass-fed, free-range, hippie-approved animals. Everyone will be eating it except for a few crazy people.

    Of course, in the beginning it will be over-priced, foul-tasting paste.

  • by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @08:11PM (#52521669)

    I tried my first veggie burger about 20 years ago, and I remember wondering when the FDA started considering sawdust a vegetable...

    Now, I eat Gardein teriyaki chick'n and a few others quite regularly. I'm still waiting for the whole "cheaper than meat" part to kick in though.

    If you haven't had them yet, give them a try, you'll be surprised, and once they get costs down, it'll change the world.

  • If this does in fact come to a store near me, and I am still actually able to taste things [I am slowly losing my sense of taste] I would give it a try. I don't really care where my meat comes from as long as it tastes good to me at the time and if I eventually lose my sense of taste then it won't really matter to me at all and I'd actually prefer not having to kill the planet and a bunch of animals to feed me. So yah, sure, I'd give it a shot.
  • Lexmark Meat Printer $199 @ Wal-Mart. Get'em while they are hot!!
  • by PJ6 ( 1151747 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @09:06PM (#52522069)
    People eat McDonald's. They eat that, they'll eat anything.
  • I owuld absolutely eat lab grown meat.

    I am a happy carnivore, and that is what people are designed to eat along with our veggies, but I'm also an animal lover. To have lab grown meat would be to eliminate the least pleasant part of the process.

    As well, people who like to eat exotic critters will be able to eat Wombat meat, People that believe eating the penises of animals puts lead in their pencils will be able to eat lab grown rhinoceros dingus. Why cannibals..... nah, let's not go there.

    But serio

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @09:19PM (#52522145)

    How long after this is feasible... will there be places you can buy "people steaks"?

    Would it be unethical, if the person who provided the cell line was still alive?

  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @10:20PM (#52522433)

    Environment impact of eating meat with growing population is not sustainable. Distant future looks bleak, with no meat at all (at least at an affordable price).

    Cultured meat seems the only option to retain meat in our diet in the future, hence I am all in favor of it.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday July 16, 2016 @06:36AM (#52523569)

    "Would You Eat Lab-Grown Meat?"

    Only if it gets billions of government subsidies, violates animals rights, ruins surface water, damages the environment and the air and is filled with hormones and antibiotics and fat giving you heart-attacks, just like the real thing.

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Saturday July 16, 2016 @02:04PM (#52524937)

    I'm willing to eat the crappy mass-produced meat on the market right now. I don't see any real difference between that and lab-grown meat.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Saturday July 16, 2016 @05:36PM (#52525713)
    No being killed to obtain it. Hopefully less land, energy, carbon, etc.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev