One thing we have learnt this week is about artificial meat. The press have been full of stories about the lab grown hamburger at $250,000 a go. This has set off another rash of stories about eating insects. Insects, or artificial meat things are going to have to get pretty drastic before I will eat them!
I recognise the problems; in that meat is responsible for almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, we will never grow enough to feed a western diet to everyone if they reach the same standard of living as westerners do. However, artificial meat apart from the yuk factor has other problems for me. The fact that it was grown on foetal calf serum is one. Apart from the way foetal calf serum is produced, having used it to grow cells in the lab I would not eat anything grown on it or near it! Clearly using foetal calf serum would mean meat dependency has not been eliminated, but I know from experience finding other media that are as rich will be a problem. Another problem is that growing artificial meat will still need a lot of energy. According to channel 4 news about half as much as growing normal meat, but still a lot especially if we did largely replace animal reared meat with it. In a post oil world this is still going to be problem. So both the energy and protein source for culturing artificial meat are going to be problem. However, the whole story has opened up a whole useful debate on the future of food and that is healthy.