Is synthetic food going to be safe?

There’s growing interest in things like fake meet – laboratory concocted food. It is seen as potentially a better alternative to meat to feed a growing world population.

But is is safe? I think it’s too soon to tell.

There was an interesting item about this in Q&A this morning.

The general rule is that the less processed food is the better it is for us. Our digestive systems have slowly evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, and are used to diverse diets of plants and meats.

The rapid change to processed foods is leading to problems like obesity and the proliferation of diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

A sudden switch to super processed foods would be very risky. It will take many years, perhaps decades, to prove whether it is safe and whether it is healthy.

And there’s this.

I presume she is alluding to patent protection of methods of food processing.  This raises serious issues about the potential control of food production by large multi-national companies.

What if companies suppress adverse information to protect their products and markets? That’s been done before (and is still being done).

What if large companies push their products via marketing to a gullible public when it could cause major health problems.

That’s being done already as well.

This probably won’t be much of a problem for me – I can keep running a few sheep, and other meats are likely to be available for yonks, as long as the Greens don’t take over the Government.

But the health of future generations may have some big things to deal with with food supply. The future of human existence could be at stake.

Back to the headline question – is synthetic food going to be safe? I don’t think anyone can answer that with anything close to certainty.


  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  June 17, 2018

    I can’t see the point. Fake meat was tried before, I think, and sank without trace. The idea of it bleeding is a real turnoff.

    I don’t eat meat, but wouldn’t eat this, either. If I really wanted a hamburger, I’d have one.

    • Zedd

       /  June 17, 2018

      kitty.. I was thinking it looks like something that comes in ‘cat/dog food cans’ ?? :/ 😀

    • Pickled Possum

       /  June 17, 2018

      “If I really wanted a hamburger, I’d have one.”

      Absolutely correct Miss I would rather have Real meat now and then,
      rather than a synthetic version of a porterhouse steak.
      And when the world can no longer sustain beef because of … farts, effluent,
      and when growing thousands of acres of feed for cows, becomes unsustainable.
      What THEN??
      I will most probably be dead so it just doesn’t excite me.
      The younger generation is another matter,
      are they in the know about health, dis-ease, nutrition these days.

      America has been making synthetic food for deep space,
      deep ice and submarines for years, haven’t they?
      Not just frezzed dried.

      • Vitamin pills are a form of unnatural (sometimes possibly synthetic) food.

        • Pickled Possum

           /  June 17, 2018

          Yes, Correct Pete, People having been downing health supplements for years thinking they will do the trick. Isn’t anything that is reconstructed reconstituted and had preservatives flavouring with taste and colour thrown in, synthetic?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 17, 2018

          Not really. People don’t eat them as a meal, and the vitamins are real. They have to be made into a pill with something.

          Possum, I am sure that I have heard of synthetic meat before ! Of course, nothing is really synthetic as it has to be made from something that is already here, but we know what we mean ! Let’s hope that it’s more trouble than its worth.

          Zedd, it looks more like cheap, fatty mince than anything I would feed my dog. Perhaps if it was compressed, it would look like (ughhhhhh) cheap dog roll.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  June 17, 2018

            People once thought that tinned food was suspect, and I probably would have then. The idea that someone could keep food for a year and still be able to eat it…no, thank you. But now we all eat frozen and tinned food, and food kept fresh in sachets and think nothing of it.

            As legumes provide protein, I think that fake meat as a means of feeding people is specious.

  2. Corky

     /  June 17, 2018

    Is synthetic food going to be safe?

    I’ll take a stab at that question. The best foods for humans have or have been imbued with life force. That’s why people who are vegetarians, or meat eaters, and who eat more raw state foods than processed foods, are generally much healthier than average people. The Amish are an example of that, even with their unique health problems caused by being a closed community.

    So my guess is synthetic food at best will be neutral…at worst toxic over long term use.

    I would say Pete running a few sheep ( as I do) is doing the right thing. Home killed , straight onto the plate, or into the freezer, can’t be beat. Kitty doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.

    • “Home killed , straight onto the plate or into the freezer”

      I hang for 3-5 days to get better eating meat, then freeze for a minimum of a couple of weeks to reduce risks.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 17, 2018

        I have eaten homekill, fresh from the farm and do know what I am ‘missing out on’ – nothing.

        I have also eaten paua fresh from the sea and into a pan to be fried with butter.

        I now choose not to eat the flesh of dead animals, other people choose to eat this. It’s my choice, my business.

  3. Gezza

     /  June 17, 2018

    From time to time I like those fake mushrooms you get in the sweets department but I much prefer the real thing – buttons & flats. I’ve not yet tried real truffles. Has anybody here? How were they done & what can you compare the taste to, if anything?

    The best reason for eating real red meat that I’m aware of is that it has haem iron which is the most efficiently absorbed by humans. If you have a vegetarian diet you have to take Vitamin C to get near its rate of absorption. Vegetarian food I just don’t find all that appetising. I eat veges & fruit because we need it, not because I particularly like it. And if I don’t have some fish or meat during the day I feel hungry.

    I like the taste & texture of meat, & poultry, but I also like animals & birds, so I do eat farmed & hunted meat, but I’d really rather not. If lab-grown synthetic meat develops to a point where it tastes as good as real meat without added chemicals I’d happily give it a go.

    It was interesting when Dunne said he’d had food at an official banquet in Taiwan & was surprised when told all the lovely chicken & other meat he’d eaten & enjoyed was actually artificial.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 17, 2018

      I was surprised to find how many really good vege-only dishes there were (the Orthodox church, to which my husband belonged, has times of not eating meat) and can honestly say that I don’t miss meat. Butter chicken is just as good with chickpeas as it is with chicken (and much cheaper)

      It was a shame when the vegetable ‘biscuits’ that were developed by a woman here as a solution to famine were totally misrepresented as being dog biscuits. They were 100% vegetable, had lots of protein, and while the way ther were made was the same as dog biscuits, the ingredients were completely different. The misrepresentation meant that they were rejected, and children died, of course. What an insult to the woman who invented them, who was depicted as someone who wanted to feed starving children on dog biscuits.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 17, 2018

        I have eaten caviar many times, but to me it’s over-rated,

        I don’t remember ever having truffles. Fresh mushrooms are lovely. I once had to carry a lot home in an upturned umbrella as I had nothing else, but it was well worth it.

  4. duperez

     /  June 17, 2018

    I can’t understand Judith Collins wondering about whether it’s necessarily a good thing that the world’s protein production could be controlled by a few very wealthy people. I’m sure a few very wealthy people control production and supply of lots of commodities and services, world wide and in national markets.

    • Gezza

       /  June 17, 2018

      Well it’s ok if you’re among them – but Judith might be worried it could be new people she doesn’t already know well.

  5. PartisanZ

     /  June 18, 2018

    Is synthetic food going to be safe?

    Well, it might be appropriate to ask: Is synthetic anything else safe already?

    Synthetic highs? Synthetic clothes? Synthetic packaging?

    Tehehehe … Makkas and the Burger people will be able to put all the varieties of meat into one pattie … Beef, Chicken, Bacon etc … and save on ‘stacking’ …

    It’s gonna be great to go to the Fast Virtual Food outlet and order a meal from a touch-screen, knowing everything you receive down the delivery chute with be synthetic … untouched by human hands … The ultimate ‘hygiene’ …

    Heck, I might even meet up with some virtual synthetic friends there?

    Synthetic meat … meets synthetic meet …