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Wait, so you're telling me "lab-grown beef" is not GMO?

From an article in the WSJ, titled "Scientists Cook Up Lab-Grown Beef," the piece ends with this:


Lab-grown beef isn't considered a genetically modified food because the cells in the meat are derived from the same stem cells that grow into muscle cells in cows. Dr. Post said such meat should be as safe as regular beef but that it would take years to know the effect on humans.

Well, if they say so.

Read it all here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

Side question: will vegetarians eat this?

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  1. In another life perhaps, but not this one.

    I'll pass, thank you.

    1. In view of the fact I'm a product of genetic modification, I have determined with certainty this is bad news. My body has been going to hell as I've aged.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ray2

        I think that is a universal tautology.

      2. there was a short piece about it on NPR this afternoon -- http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013...


        1. It is disgusting. Who knows what side effects this so called meat will have? There has to be a better way to feed the masses as that is the intent of the study.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Ruthie789

            FDA already approved AquaAdvantage salmon.. i liked the idea of enviropig but they ran out of funding

            Id eat it for sure

              1. re: kpaxonite

                I would also. Why wouldn't I? And it's not "so called meat." It's beef.

              2. re: Ruthie789

                Insect, grub and worm farming are a much more efficient source of protein than beef production.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  I know but it's a hard sell for Supper.

                  " Pass your Father the grubs, dear. "

                  " No dear, those are the worms. He'd like the grubs, "

                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                    Well havent people been saying "this is good grub for ages?"

                    we just need the right marketing

                    1. re: girloftheworld

                      Insects, grubs and worms can be really delicious. I've never understood the arbitrary decisions on what is "ok" vs. gross. Chickens, rabbits, ducks, cows and pigs can be just as cute and cuddly as dogs or cats. Insects are no stranger than lobsters, crabs or shrimp. People have been slurping noodles that look like worms for hundreds of years.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        it is all the preperation... I personally can not eat fish when it still looks like a fish...because I think fish a beautiful...it is a wierd thing I have... lobsters, crawfish, shrimp, grubs( if dead) ok... I dont like the idea of eating anything that may crawl back out..I think most people in the USA have only seen grubs and insect type foods presented at their worst for shock value on reality tv or via Andrew Zimmeman and not really been presented them as a protine alternitive.

                        1. re: Pookipichu

                          Having eaten silkworm pupae and grasshoppers, I'm not a fan of the crunch. I'm also not a fan of softshell crab. although I love crab (and lobster, and other insect-like critters once the meat is removed from the exoskeleton).

                2. Why would a vegetarian eat this?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    No animals harmed. If one was a vegetarian simply for animal cruelty reasons, I could see eating this being an option.

                    1. re: donovt

                      Yep, same reason some vegetarian mothers will eat their own placentas.

                      1. re: donovt

                        Somethings got deleted. My point was that vegetarians have various reasons for being/doing so. So just saying "vegetarians" wasn't complete.

                    2. It's not genetically modified since there has been no use of genetic engineering techniques to change DNA, but it is artificial.

                      It may sound wrong, but some people think processed organic food sounds wrong and that exists.

                      1. Unfortunately, a lot of people are really ignorant about what GMO really means -- and doesn't mean. And about a lot of other science. I'd eat it, no problem. But it probably will be very bland, without trace chemicals (yes, everything is made up of chemicals) that come from an animal's diet, and I'm guessing mushy as well, without any exercise. And yes, I'm sure a lot of vegetarians would welcome "death free" meat.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Hi Ruth Lafler, I have followed this thread with gusto, and at the end l like your concise summation the most.

                        2. So, science is only a couple of seasons behind "Better Off Ted", with "Blobby", as the lab drones called their lump of lab-grown meat!

                          As a carnivore with a nagging conscience, I would be delighted if lab-grown meat became an everyday thing. Ultimately, it should cost less to make than it does to raise, slaughter, butcher, and ship the animals common in first-world meals. It should also be safer - easier to prevent contamination, spongiform encephalopathies, and spoilage.

                          1. answer to the side question:
                            when people who have been eating meat their whole lives first become vegetarian, it is not unusual for them to crave meat.

                            (my friend's description of the phenomena is: "you crave what you eat")

                            after some time passes, this craving, at least in my experience, completely disappears.

                            still, the issue of how to deal with the initial meat cravings is a real one.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: westsidegal

                              The side question doesn't make any sense in the first place. People have a lot of reasons for being vegetarian/vegan, and treating them as a homogenous block is as silly as asking the same kinds of questions about different races.

                              Some will, some won't. Some might try it and not like it. Some may not eat meat because they don't like meat. It's not the kind of question that can be debated, because it's not a question that has an answer.

                            2. Why would this be GMO? It's not a genetically modified organism.

                              This isn't all that different from some of the latest advances in medical research (which also aren't quite ready for primetime) - where appendages and organs are being grown in a lab for purpose of transplantation.

                              Is it all natural? No - but that doesn't mean it's bad per se.

                              1. On vegetarians,
                                Trolls come to my little veg forum and ask about this sort of thing all the time.
                                General run down of the responses:
                                Yes. No animal killed
                                No, I don't like/never liked meat.
                                Yes, but have concerns about the politics of someone owning the rights of production. (This is an offshoot of the Monsanto suicide seeds controversy. Basically a concern that it would truly be industrial meat/food source, and easily manipulated in price and availability.)
                                No, (insert some zombie reference)

                                On GMO,
                                It's a clone, not salmon genes spliced into a tomato.
                                It's a manipulated organism, not modified.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: truepeacenik

                                  Is it even an organism? Or just organic tissue?

                                2. a diamond made in lab is still a diamond... some people say you can not even tell the difference...

                                  Lab made beef is sort of like growing beef from beef seeds like you would grow a carrot from a carrot seed...that is why it it not gmo.... if you were taking the beef cells and splicing them with a lab rat to grow tinny cows so you could ship them cheaper then extractacting the DNA and inserting the cow DNA into a quck growing eggplant to harvest a rump roast then it would GMO... now I have just creeped myself out

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                    No. generating tissue in a petri dish is nothing like growing a carrot from a carrot seed. The carrot seed is supposed to become a carrot plant - that's its entire purpose in life, and the vast majority of carrot seeds will germinate into carrot plants, even if removed from human care.

                                    Morcels of bovine muscle strand in a petri dish won't just spontaneously generate into larger strands of muscle tissue that can be ground into hamburger. If removed from human care, they'll decompose, just like all other dead flesh does. (and yes, muscle tissue removed from the nervous and circulatory systems of the animal are dead...this experiment is artificially creating an environment which fakes out the genetic material of the muscle tissue into thinking it's still attached to something, but that it is seriously injured and needs to regenerate.)

                                    Part of the problem with GMO is that there's no clear definition. Gregor Mendel was genetically modifying his peas...by choosing which peas would breed with which peas in his greenhouse before teaching us all about dominant and recessive traits.

                                    So in its current state "GMO" means anything from controlled hybridization to transplanting mouse DNA into corn. They both happen, but they're not the same thing, even though they're both called genetic modification.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      And yet, what this is still doesn't fall under the GmO spectrum you describe.

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        I agree with you -- but I was responding to "girl of the world".

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        You can come up with different definitions of genetic modification for different contexts, but I think it is possible to have a pretty clear definition of GMO, if you are looking for something that can be used as a basis for government regulation of food. A very reasonable definition of a "genetically modified organism" is an organism whose DNA is altered via modern genetic engineering techniques (i.e. methods that do not exist in nature).

                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                          Is a genetically modified person "bad" in your eyes?
                                          For example, you can "employ" a virus (or bacteria) that attacks all the brain cells to deliver a modified piece of DNA directly into the nucleus of every brain cell. After this point the brain of the subject can be PERMANENTLY modified in a way that is controlled. These kind of DNA delivery happens in a controlled manner.

                                          So why slander lab grown beef? We need a solution to feed the masses and get away from carbohydrates (grain based) diets.

                                          You can use this DNA recombinant technology to convert a blonde into a redhead by using a virus to attack the skin cells to remove the "blonde" gene and add the redhead gene into every skin cell of the body. The result will be a freckled perfect ginger person. You can create oriental redheads and African ginger people. My point is that the abuse of technology is different to the USE of technology. How you use technology (or responsibility) should never be a deterrent to progress.

                                          The cure for many debilitating birth defects and genetic diseases already exist. For example Cystic Fibrosis can be PERMANENTLY cured. Diabetes, Brain damage, Spinal chord injury, Kidney damage can be repaired etc etc. There is more. The technology used to make beef in lab to feed the masses can be used to grow kidneys and hearts in lab making an important change in the human population as a whole.

                                          These are technology that will herald a new realm of human existence.

                                          1. re: SomersetDee

                                            Just to clarify, the poster you are directly responding to did not "slander lab grown beef" although other people in this discussion have expressed doubts.

                                            Most people in this discussion have expressed views similar to those in your post: the genetic modification of organisms can be done for "good" reasons (i.e. golden rice) or "bad" reasons (corporate ownership/monopoly of important crops, encouraging the use of more herbicides).

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              Yes thanks for pointing it out :)

                                              Corporate ownership/monopoly will definitely come in because technology and high investment will make such techniques out of reach for most nations and universities. Moreover patenting etc, creates monopoly initially until the technology dissipates.

                                              The GMO super seeds in corn, rice and wheat is a horror story that this generation will, unfortunately, see unravelled right in front of their eyes.

                                              Simply put, plants and seeds can be bred to have more and more complex carbohydrates and plant-proteins (very different from animal-proteins) that the insects and worms cannot use (eat). Thus the crop becomes "resistant" to those insects. But these complex molecules also become hard to digest for humans and cause other problems too. A plant need not be classified as GMO if this hybridisation or selective breeding is done using conventional pollination techniques.

                                              It is the customer's fault. If people are not willing to buy too much modified crops then the farmers will not grow crops that lack demand. People want sugary-sweet seedless grapes. Can you believe that? Most grapes (non GMO) in the market today have many many times LESS vitamin C and other nutritional qualities than grapes available 35 years ago. All that because customers wanted sweeter grapes.

                                            2. re: SomersetDee

                                              I work in the field. While I agree with you, you're overselling the state of current technology and knowhow.

                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                Hi. Actually I am not overstating (if you are referring to what I said). Technology is helping BIG farmers with BIG money to eat small farmers for breakfast, lunch and supper. All around the world the economics of capitalism is accelerated due to the use of high end technology by those who can afford. Small farmers with smaller budgets suffer as a result.

                                                see only one solution to these problems. Customer. Customer needs to be Hyper Educated.

                                                The most powerful vote we have is not the political vote. It is the consumer (customer) vote in the supermarket. Electing a politician within democracy is only a minor part. The major part of what influences the country we live in is - the bank you chose to open your account with. The drinks you buy. The eggs you buy. The bread you buy and so on.

                                                These actions by individuals are so powerful that if we all want a better world; all we need to do is make sure we shape that by buying products made ethically and NOT buying those products which may have "bad karma". Not being enamoured by advertisements thrown at us and our children is a start. We just need to get hyper aware.

                                                1. re: SomersetDee

                                                  With some of the specific examples you gave, yes your were overstating. I'm pretty well aware of what's possible. I suspect you've seen headlines where things were demonstrated in model organisms and extrapolated that to humans

                                            3. re: FoodPopulist

                                              DNA splicing exists in nature. We learnt how viruses do it. That is how we do it. Heck, we even "use" viruses to do that job for us.

                                              I am not going to buy and eat lab grown meat other out of curiosity if it does become affordable. I go to great lengths to buy only free range local beef from the countryside where I live, I even got a freezer in the shed to store when I manage to get hold of good beef. Cows fed on grains, I find have a different type of fat deposit to cows fed on natural grass.

                                              I am not willing to discount lab grown meat because it has potential for us to understand and perhaps mass produce good quality beef. Ultimately if no one buys the stuff then it will fail as an enterprise.

                                              Caged hen's eggs are still available in major supermarkets such as Tesco. WHY?? Because people buy it! Customer is always the king. Have you seen a caged hen? It is the most depressing sight there is in animal husbandry. Quite often the beak would have been cut off. Often the legs would have bent out of shape or broken and the hen rests in a frame, hardly able to move. Wings will be cut off too. It just lays eggs. I see people pick up caged hen eggs in supermarkets, despite it being labelled as such. These are normal people. Kind people who will be horrified if they really knew what they were buying. Sometimes they know, but they are desperate for nutrition, and they simply cant afford free range eggs. Moreover these hens are not fed dried worms (their natural diet), but instead fed high calorie grains.

                                              Free range organic farming with the added impetus of lab grown meat I will support. What I will not support is intensive animal farming using grain feed in sheds.

                                              thanks Dee

                                              1. re: SomersetDee

                                                I'm conflicted on this. I would love to eat only organic produce and humanely raised beef and poultry, and for the most part I do. But this really is a first world problem. Too many people would be happy to have anything to eat at all.

                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                  Exactly Jon Parker! I think you have stated the main fact.

                                                  But why the conflict??

                                                  Part of what I am trying to express is how the healthy chicken is many times more expensive than unhealthy chicken! Same for all the food produce. This supply and demand ratio can be altered if we want.

                                                  Ironically though, even in poor countries the farmers can grow their meat using "traditional grazing on grass", and when it comes to poultry, leave them in the field to fend for themselves. The emphasis on profit instead of health is the root cause of many of today's food problem.

                                                  This will have two pronged effect. All poorer countries will realise that the environment and greenery are worth preserving. It will benefit the very small scale farmers. They will have high quality meat that they can export to others. So indirectly they can get richer in the long run.

                                                  Organic Free Range farming is highly successful in Europe and the UK. It is the future.

                                                  As long as the consumers ask for quality, then quality is all that will be available.

                                        2. It's not GMO because GMO has a specific meaning -- genetic modification through modern technology. As apart from the genetic modification of organisms that humans have been doing for millenia. And there's no genetic modification here.

                                          GMO doesn't mean OMG, as in "OMG! Technology and labs were involved?!".

                                          1. The door this technology opens is ultra important.

                                            Well, how much ever I am put off by this petri dish beef, I would not discount it. We will soon be growing replacement organs if our organs fail. Even complex organs like brain can be helped with chip attachments to it. A cow that has grown near a nuclear testing facility eating contaminated grass can have a much more dangerous meat than the one grown in a lab.

                                            The world needs more animal protein for health.. not more and more grains. Much of the health crisis around the world is cause by excess consumption of grains (carbohydrates). If we can manufacture animal protein then worldwide health will improve.

                                            8 Replies
                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                Since the invention of agriculture, most humans on the planet have lived on a grain-based diet.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  Please don't be fooled by data interpreted in a stupid manner by professionals with vested interests.

                                                  The other day I saw a cat food advert. The ad stated that their cat food (brand name Purina) is better than other brands because it contains 30% more animal protein. Now 30% seems like a lot more until you learn that the other brands contain as little as 4% animal protein. So if yours contain 6% then you have 30% more!

                                                  All this considering cats would have eaten pure meat in nature, until man domesticated them and started feeding them grains as well. Now the cat food (and dog food) is made of 70% grains, 20% vegetable mass and remaining is powdered meat.

                                                  Before you throw yourself to some poorly written articles, you need to think for yourself. Go to a supermarket, buy some fresh produce, like fresh tomatoes and try making pasta sauce with them, next day try making pasta sauce with chopped tomatoes from a tin. Life is chemistry. Someday we will figure out how to tin tomatoes "perfectly" until then, people who cannot afford fresh tomatoes can afford the tinned option.

                                                  Diabetes (type 2) is NOT caused by protein. It is caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates, mostly grains. It is also caused by poor overall micro-nutrient intake. Usuallyt poor people eat less fruits and vegetable and also try less different varieties. WHO conducted a 25 year long study into this in the Indian subcontinent.

                                                  Often vegetarians and statisticians who want to convince someone of a certain flaw in meat eating search strata of society that is usually economically poor, so they know someone eating burgers is also not consuming any vegetables or different varieties of berries and fruits. Usually also accompanied by consumption of carbonic acid (carbonated drinks).

                                                  If you process meat, the industrial/marketing term is that the meat is ground and reshaped with chemical additives to preserve, taste and shape and enhance shelf-life.

                                                  GMO meat is not same as processed meat and it is also not same as lab grown meat, which is yet another new thing.

                                                  Most people in this planet including people that live in developed countries like US and UK are unable to afford to eat 40% fresh free range organic meat 40% fresh vegetables and 20% fresh fruit for every meal. Each meal will be so expensive unless you are growing and freezing some of these food yourself. In which case you need land and resources.

                                                  By the way those articles are bonkers. Please go to the basics of how things work so that someone publishing a bonkers articles does not enamour you so much.

                                                  1. re: SomersetDee

                                                    Anyone who claims to know what causes Type 2 Diabetes is "bonkers"! No one knows for sure what causes Type 2 Diabetes, and the cause (or more likely, causes), differ among individuals.

                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                      Actually W.H.O has done extensive study spanning 25 years on Type 2 Diabetes. It is estimated that there will be a huge rise in Type2 Diabetes worldwide. Especially in Eastern Asia, India, Bangladesh, and the west starts to eat more and more breakfast cereals, noodles and rice and pasta and bread, the danger of Type 2 Diabetes becoming a major problem is a cause of concern for many Governments including WHO.

                                                      1)Low (gestational) birth weight, (determined by what mother ate!)
                                                      2)Poor nutritional quality of diet
                                                      3)High carbohydrate diet

                                                      are believed to be the three major causes of type2 diabetes as well as some other coronary diseases and overall poor health manifesting itself once the person crosses their 30s.

                                                      In England it was found that large percentage of people who were born during the word war among working classes went on to either put on weight when they were adults or have coronary issues or type2 diabetes. Babies born after the 50s had higher birth weight and showed less tendency to put weight on as adults. It is now widely understood that if the mother eats "poor quality" diet. Namely no fresh vegetables and no meat and fish, then the resulting baby is likely to have low birth weight, and will later have a tendency to put weight on.

                                                      1. re: SomersetDee

                                                        If WHO says that, then you have it backwards. Poor people in Eastern Asia, India, Bangladesh have long lived on a diet that was primarily grain, with small amounts of meat. Now people in those countries are eating more meat, not more grain!

                                                        The same is true of the poor and working class throughout the developed world as people get richer and industrial meat production makes meat relatively cheaper.

                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                          Please do your research. It has taken me years to educate myself.

                                                          I will try to explain:

                                                          Grains grown without fertilisers and non-gmo, (organic) in unmodified soil will be better than fast grown crops with help of fertilisers. Even if organic fertilisers are used, if the cow/horse manure comes from gmo-grain eating cows and horses then the manure is less good than cows and horses grazing naturally on grass.

                                                          These older grains have different type of carbohydrates in them which when consumed by animals will form a different sort of fat in the animal's body compared to the fat formed when you eat commercial grains.

                                                          Farmed fish fed grains, farmed animals fed grains, etc. ALL will have this kind of less healthy fat. I bought some sea-bass (fish) cultured in the Mediterranean Sea by the Greeks. I found so much fat inside the fish that it was unbelievable. I have decided only to buy wild sea-bass since then. Farmed fish and prawns CONSISTENTLY have more fat in them. Fat farmed Salmon I call them.

                                                          I never ever buy farmed prawns. There is no point. It may have some resemblance of taste but I could as well buy lab grown prawn muscle tissue!

                                                          The benefit of sea food comes from the fish having eaten planktons and algae, (or other fish which eat plankton and algae). It is all to do with the nutrient cycle.

                                                          Fast grown grain is both the success and the failing of this civilisation. It has helped us send many men to the moon but it has also helped us get fat.

                                                          Please do your research regarding grains. There is just too much volume of information to go through. All I can say is that up to 10% of your diet being (organic) grains may be the limit!!! Anymore and you are in danger of being fat. 90% of your diet should be ORGANIC vegetables (if you are a vegetarian) or 10% organic grains 50% organic vegetables and 40% free range organic meat.

                                                          It has taken me years of study and researching to come to these conclusions. I request you to do your own. We have libraries, universities and the internet. If you can machete your way through the quagmire of miss-information jungle perpetuated by men and women wanting to profit from businesses... then you may eventually find your truth.

                                                          It is not WHAT you eat (vegetarianism, veganism, sea food and meat) it is the QUALITY of what you eat that matters.

                                                    2. re: SomersetDee

                                                      statistics..polls..numbers.. Pickles cause baldness..80% of all bald men have eaten pickles... you have to be carefull with numbers..

                                                2. Genetically modified means that the DNA and genes have been altered. This isn't a GMO product. I don't even know if you could label it as artificial or unnatural.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                                      It will completely depend on the nutrients you feed it. The difference between protein (worm) eating free range organic chicken and a grain eating chicken will STILL APPLY to beef grown in petri-dish. Same as that applies to farmed fish and wild fish (please see my earlier reply to Ruth Lafler)

                                                    2. "will vegetarians eat this?"

                                                      I'd doubt it. This omnivore won't be eating it either.