Creators of Home Grown Human-Meat “Steaks” Swear Its Not Cannibalism 

 

A group of scientists, artists, and designers have developed a do-it-yourself meal kit that allows human meat steaks to be grown at home. The invention was recently nominated for “design of the year” by the London-based Design Museum.

The designers called the human meat “the Ouroboros Steak,” named after the circular symbol of a snake eating itself tail-first.

The kit is not on the market yet, but if it is ever approved, it will come with everything that a human-meat eater needs to use their own cells to grow miniature human meat steaks.

The designers insist that it isn’t technically cannabilism because you are eating yourself, not another human.

“People think that eating oneself is cannibalism, which technically this is not,” Grace Knight, one of the designers, told Dezeen magazine.

The Ouroboros Steak is the creation of scientist Andrew Pelling, artist Orkan Telhan and Knight, an industrial designer, on commission by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an exhibit last year.

“Growing yourself ensures that you and your loved ones always know the origin of your food, how it has been raised and that its cells were acquired ethically and consensually,” a website for the invention states.

The project was made as a critique of the lab-grown meat industry, which the designers told Dezeen magazine is not actually as animal-friendly as one might expect. Lab-grown meat relies on fetal bovine serum for animal cell cultures, though some companies have claimed to have found alternatives. FBS is made from calf fetus blood after pregnant cows are slaughtered.

Lab-grown meat has not yet been approved for human consumption, though some products could hit store shelves in the next few years.

“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,” Pelling told Dezeen.

Growing an Ouroboros Steak would take about three months using cells taken from inside your cheek. For the collection of sample steaks on display in the museum, the team used human cell cultures purchased from the American Tissue Culture Collection and grew them with donated blood that expired and would have otherwise been destroyed. They preserved the final products in resin.

“Expired human blood is a waste material in the medical system and is cheaper and more sustainable than FBS, but culturally less-accepted,” Knight told Dezeen.

The product works exactly as advertised, but it was intended as an answer to the current lab-grown meat on the market.

“We are not promoting ‘eating ourselves’ as a realistic solution that will fix humans’ protein needs. We rather ask a question: what would be the sacrifices we need to make to be able to keep consuming meat at the pace that we are? In the future, who will be able to afford animal meat and who may have no other option than culturing meat from themselves?” Telhan added.

Currently, there are no lab-grown meats of any kind, human or otherwise, that have been approved for human consumption.

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