Fire up the grill for the latest in 3-D printing. Modern Meadow, a Missouri-based start-up has secured backing from billionaire Peter Thiel’s philanthropic foundation to create printable meat.
“If you look at the resource intensity of everything that goes into a hamburger, it is an environmental train wreck,” said Modern Meadow co-founder Andras Forgacs in an interview with Mashable
Specifically, it takes 6.7 pounds of grain, 52.8 gallons of water, 74.5 square feet of land, and 1,036 Btus of fossil fuel energy for feed production, according to a recent NPR study
Take those numbers and multiply them by the 26.4 billion pounds of beef that was consumed in the US in 2010
and the environmental burden becomes catastrophic.
Despite these fact Americans, myself included, refuse to give up our love affair with our favorite meat.
Enter 3-D printing to save the day.
Modern Meadow hopes the same 3-D printing technology currently being used to create medical grade tissue can be used to provide food for your table, without the environmental impact.
Before this replica flesh appears in your local supermarket, however, it has a number of hurdles to jump.
The firm has written a submission to the Department of Agriculture’s small business grant program, noting that its short-term goal is to create a chunk of meat one inch long.
Aside from the technical production challenges, Modern Meadow will need to prove to the public that printed meat is a viable replacement for their Sunday roast. The success or failure of this, and any invention, rests with the consumer.
So, would you eat printed meat? Let us know in the comments below!