Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are more common than you think.
Scientists estimate 90% of the most common crops – corn, potatoes, soy and cotton – grown in the United States have been injected with Bt-toxin, made from Bacillus Thuringiensis bacteria, which kills insects within two days.
If you live in the U.S., chances are you’re eating GMO food and probably don’t even know it.
Approximately 80% of the food available in supermarkets uses ingredients that have been genetically altered in some way. Companies are not required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label foods that contain GMOs.
Modifying plants is bad enough. Now scientists are taking the future of genetically modified food to a completely different, and startling, level: creating fake lab grown meat.
There is no doubt that raising beef is financially and environmentally expensive. But is the solution adding a dash of fat, stem cells from cow muscle, and some non-clotting plasma to a petri-dish…and letting it grow into unnaturally bred meat?
In a study conducted at Netherlands Maastricht University, Professor Mark Post is creating the first test-tube burger in his hope for environmentally friendly food sources. When you consider only the environment, the reasoning is sound.
Lab grown meat has 96% less air pollutants, 55% less energy, 1% of the land and 4% of the total water needed to raise cattle in the conventional manner.
Still, the process is slow and alternatives to cow plasma (taken from the blood of a dead cow) are needed. Even with adequate funding – the first burger will cost an estimated 250,000 euros – it could be ten years or more before the procedure is perfected.
For those who prefer less chemicals in their meat…it can’t take long enough.
Then there is 3D meat printing. Also known as bio-printing, this process was originally developed solely for regenerative medicine – such as human limb and organ replacement. Now scientists are using the technology to create food options by growing, or cloning, meat for consumption.
All the lab grown meat will grow to be the same size, texture and weight. They cite environmental sustainability as a motivation.
Envision row upon row of containers where meat is simply…growing.
The side effects of GMO’s on crops are slowly coming to light. How will our bodies respond to eating lab grown meat that has been created from animal tissue and grown in a lab?
Food manufacturers may swear to you that Bt-toxin is safe despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified foods.”
Health Problems Genetically Modified Foods Can Cause:
When you consume genetically modified foods, you begin to produce microorganisms that can keep producing even after you remove genetically modified food from your diet.
This interferes with the natural “good” bacteria in your digestive system and can trigger allergies and disease. The extent to which genetically modified foods can destroy your immune system is still not fully known.
Instead of creating Frankenmeat and other foods in a lab, we need to consider limiting meat consumption and finding sustainable farming methods to carry us into the future. The answer to growing enough food with fewer resources may lie in vertical farming.
One building of 18 floors, taking up one city block, could potentially feed 50,000 people. Add to that fewer transportation costs as the commute from country to city is eliminated, and this “science fiction concept” has real merit.
One thing is certain: what we’re doing isn’t working. The world population recently passed 7 billion and experts estimate we’ll reach 9 billion by 2050. Our current system of food growth won’t be able to keep up.
Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier said, “The reason why we need vertical farming is that horizontal farming is failing. The world,” he added, “is running out of resources faster than what it can replace.”
NASA is interested in the alternatives researchers at Columbia propose, since extended space exploration requires alternate methods of food production. Energy costs are a concern – there is still much to consider – but the possibilities are, well, sky-high.
Projects are already underway. The University of Arizona in Tucson is proud to announce the high yield of their test crops – currently two-thirds of the world’s most successful greenhouses. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to tour their garden. It’s located in a plant growth chamber inside an Antarctic research station.
University of Arizona researchers continue to increase efficiency and yield each year so there is the hope that everyday consumers will be able to grow what their family needs in their own home year-round.
We must explore alternatives to growing the organic food our planet will need for years to come. But pumping our existing food sources full of chemicals is not the answer…neither is test-tube faceless meat.