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ABC News reports that an American scientist says that he is close to creating a commercially viable formula for laboratory-grown beef.

Hungarian-born Gabor Forgacs, of the University of Missouri, the story says, has been able to use things he learned doing research into the creation of replacement tissue and organs for humans into technology that can make artificial meat - albeit meat that, at the beginning, will be priced like Kobe beef and marketed to a niche group of potential buyers.

"This product isn't going to be for the masses at the beginning, it's going to be for eco-conscious people and people who don't eat meat for ethical reasons," says Forgacs. In addition, he says, the artificial meat could be used in a wide range of products where the presence of "real" meat is not required or too expensive.

"The rules of the game of meat production are not the same as they were 100 years ago," says Forgacs. "It's not sustainable. We are destroying this planet with intensive meat production. Seventy percent of arable land today is one way or another connected to animals through grazing animals or growing food for them. We're running out of it ... What we're doing is a transformational idea. We're going to produce something that is not exactly the same but it is going to be cost efficient and much less harmful to the environment."
KC's View:
Forgacs gets real credit for the "not exactly the same" line, because unlike the GMO crowd, he's not trying to pass something off as being exactly the same when it is not.

I have no problem with artificial meat being commercially available. (At least, I don't think I do. Someone may dissuade me.) Just label it. Clearly and accurately. Let shoppers decide.