Test Tube Burgers: Are they the future, Or just freaky?

by Cassie Younger

Native Foods Cafe


There are so many reasons why people go vegan; for health,
for animals rights, and for the earth. All of these are sound and dignified
reasons to switch up your diet. The production of factory farmed meat is
unethical, environmentally destructive and completely inefficient. But there
can be a lot of hurdles to making the vegan plunge. For those of us raised in
meat-eating homes, one might still crave the tastes and textures of burgers,
chicken and fish that kale and quinoa simply cannot satisfy. (Sorry kale, I do
love you!)

Luckily, restaurants like Native Foods Café have fixed many
of these problems by creating delicious sandwiches like the “Chicken” Run Ranch
Burger and the Portobello and “Sausage” Burger  that are made from soy and gluten but taste freakishly true
to their animal counterpart. These meals make going vegan a seamless transition
that satisfies your chicken-wing craving without compromising your ethics.

Portobello&SausageBurgerPortobello & sausage Burger at Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant.

But what if you didn’t have to compromise? What if you could
have your meat and eat it too? A new wave of animal products is in development
that could change the way we eat and think about meat. Newly developed “in-vitro
meat” takes animal cells and grows their muscle tissue in a lab, with the end
product being the same animals parts we cook for food, without any animal
having to die or suffer in the process.  It’s real meat, but without the animals. It’s a test-tube
burger, baby.

Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this article courtesy of Jezebel.


Not only does this new meat eliminate animal suffering, it’s
also insanely more efficient than its natural counterpart. It uses 99% less
land (laboratories are way smaller than cattle farms!) and uses 45% less
energy, by some estimates (Walsh, TIME). There are clearly economic benefits to
this system, and PETA has even endorsed it as a ethical meat- replacement! Many
are hailing this as a huge part of the solution to the growing demand for
animal products in our current unsustainable food system.  

Pdfnews.aspi43059c3bf0e37541u2011_11_09_04_45_415a7e622a744d58bb2d730c7b07d535_PRIMARYNative Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this image courtesy of In Vitro Meat.


Although the facts and numbers sound very convincing to
gather my support for this in-vitro meat, part of me a bit skeptical.  My belief that science can actually keep
up with the world demand for meat as it is now, and what it will be in the
future, remains doubtful. Also, in its current stage of development, an in
vitro hamburger would cost over $100. Technology would have to advance pretty
rapidly and cost-effectively for this to be considered a truly viable and realistic

Something also disturbs me about relying solely on science
and men in white lab coats to feed the world. Call me a romantic, but I like to
imagine a my food coming from a farmer working with the land, getting his hands
dirty and providing society with the bounty that earth has provided for us
through fruits and vegetables. A scientist in a lab coat experimenting with
muscle-cells and creating some sort of franken-burger isn’t exactly what I had
in mind in our food revolution. This disconnect with nature is kind of what
started all this trouble in the first place, right?

What do YOU think? Is in-vitro meat ethical? Sustainable?
Realistic? Would YOU eat it??

20080122_niagara01Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this photo courtesy of Jerrod Litwinenko and Blogto.com.


Cassie works at our Lakeview location in Chicago and loves Scorpion Burgers. 


Native Foods cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant, test tube meat, in vitro meat

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