Home Science You are what you eat: Grow-your-own human steaks meal kit ‘not technically'...

You are what you eat: Grow-your-own human steaks meal kit ‘not technically' cannibalism

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Scientists and designers have joined forces to develop a prototype grow-your-own steak kit in an attempt to highlight the cultured meat industry’s potentially questionable ethics. Ouroboros Steak could be grown by the diner at home using the omnivore’s own cells, which can theoretically be harvested from the inside of their cheek and fed serum obtained from donated blood.

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The resulting bite-sized pieces of meat are therefore created without harming any animals.

Although some lab-grown meat companies are claiming to have solved this problem, to our knowledge no independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have validated these claims

Professor Andrew Pelling

The creators point-out the same cannot be said for increasingly-popular cultured meat derived from animal cells.

The lab-grown meat industry claims to offer a more sustainable, cruelty-free alternative to factory farming.

However, the process still relies on Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS) as a protein-rich growth supplement for animal cell cultures.

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Ouroboros Steak is part of the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition (Image: ourochef)

Human cells are fed with serum from expired blood donations (Image: ourochef)

FBS comes from the blood of calf foetuses after their pregnant mothers are slaughtered by the meat and dairy industries.

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This means lab-grown meat is a direct byproduct of polluting agricultural practices like ‘normal’ meat.

Professor Andrew Pelling, a University of Ottawa scientist, developed the Ouroboros Steak with designer Grace Knight and artist and researcher Orkan Telhan.

He said: “Fetal bovine serum costs significant amounts of money and the lives of animals.

Ourochef market the meat as sustainably, ethically and consensually sourced cultivated food (Image: ourochef)

uroboros Steak could be grown by the diner at home using the omnivore’s own cells (Image: ourochef)

“Although some lab-grown meat companies are claiming to have solved this problem, to our knowledge no independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have validated these claims.

“As the lab-grown meat industry is developing rapidly, it is important to develop designs that expose some of its underlying constraints in order to see beyond the hype.”

Ouroboros Steak is named after the ancient symbol of the snake eating its own tail.

And this so-called ‘steak’ removes the need for other animals’ involvement by drawing exclusively on human blood and cells.

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The version on display at London’s Design Museum was made using human cell cultures.

These can be legally acquired for research and development purposes from the American Tissue Culture Collection (ATCC).

They were fed with human serum derived from expired blood donations which would otherwise have been incinerated or simply thrown away.

The DIY kit could eventually involve users collecting cells from the inside of their own cheek and depositing them onto pre-grown scaffolds made from mushroom mycelium.

The bite-sized steaks are preserved in resin (Image: ourochef)

These would then be stored in a warm environment for approximately three months while being fed human serum until the steak is fully grown.

Professor Pelling added: “Although some lab-grown meat companies are claiming to have solved this problem, to our knowledge no independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have validated these claims.

“As the lab-grown meat industry is developing rapidly, it is important to develop designs that expose some of its underlying constraints in order to see beyond the hype.”

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