With a third suspected case of mad cow disease in Canada beef-eaters, at least of the squeamish kind, might be reluctant to pile into that next big steak or juicy hamburger. But what if the meat was certifiably safe, produced without animal cruelty, free of disease-causing organisms, fat and cholesterol controlled, packed under sanitary conditions and delivered the highest nutritional bang for a food-budget buck? What if the meat was synthetic?
Imagine: a pulsing florescent lab with endless lines of stainless tray-like tables filled with blobs of quivering flesh bobbing in a slather of nutrient soup. Meat.
No, the vision is not from Woody Allen's Sleeper or some other contrived science fiction scenario. This vision is from now, in what some food scientists think may well be a viable and necessary food production technology of the future.
Will consumers accept artificial flesh with the same gusto they've taken farm-raised salmon, catfish and shrimp to table? Aquaculture is only one small step removed from harvesting wild catch. Fish farms raise whole animals-- animals with a face as the vegans would say. Few diners object.
Just a few generations ago it was customary to wring the neck and pluck the feathers of Sunday dinner a few hours beforehand. These days such butchery so close at hand is hard to imagine.
Kentucky Fried or Perdue chickens have no face.
As creepy as it sounds, artificial flesh, synthetic meat, may be the way for future generations to eat meat that is healthier and causes no animal cruelty. Indeed, the BBQ of 2025 may be of no consequence to an animal at all.