Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't Eat Camel - Eat Schmeat!

I'd rather not any meat at all, thank you, but for those meat addicts like my husband, this could help. This article on Gristmill (excerpt below) goes into detail on pros and cons of "schmeat."

Earlier this year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that it will offer a $1 million X Prize for the creation of affordable, humane, and "commercially viable" test-tube meat by 2012.

Shmeat is grown from a cell culture (hence the in vitro or cultured prefixes), not from a live animal. These harvested cells are taken from an animal, such as a pig, and placed in a "nutrient-rich medium" that mimics blood. Once the cells multiply they are attached to a spongy scaffold or sheet (sheet + meat = shmeat) that has been soaked with nutrients and stretched to increase cell size and protein content.

This shmeat could, in theory, be harvested in vast quantities and used in minced meat products: burgers, nuggety things, or potted meat-food products, etc. While scientists (they call themselves "tissue engineers") admit that growing a pork chop with a bone without a real pig attached is not likely, the say also that affordable, palatable minced shmeat might be available at a grocery store near you within a decade.

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