'Natural' Synthetic Meat

Experts are wary of what natural synthetic meat means, and what it means for your health

In light of Maastricht University’s Dr. Mark Post’s, lab-grown beef burger, experts are becoming wary of what synthetic meat is and how that settles into grocery store label categories.

Though the meat can be made using stem cells that contain much higher levels of protein than natural meat, such as insects cells, there is concern that increased levels of vitamins and proteins in the meat could not be as beneficial as one might think.

It’s no secret that there have been various studies conducted by psychologists which show that labeling food products ‘organic’ tends to increase brain activity in the ventral striatum which involves controlling motivations to both eat and acquire food. While Dr. Post and his team will work to knit these synthetic fibers together as a way to create synthetic beef that appears to be, smells like, and tastes like all natural beef, some see it being difficult for the synthetic mean to be considered a natural source of food if it’s developed from a petri dish.

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Natural foods are often classified as additive free, which means that there aren’t any ‘synthetic’ chemical additives to enhance or prolong the shelf life of the packaged items. Though natural appears to be a way for shoppers to easily locate low-calorie alternatives to their favorite items, doctors like psychologist Paul Rozin point out that “natural is unrelated to health.” Other experts like Jeremy MacClancy state that the term natural food is, more or less, a cynical marketing ploy. While different companies like People for Ethical Treatment of Animals offer prizes of up to $1 million to the first lab to create artificial chicken meat, experts aren’t so convinced that this artificial, naturally developed meat is any better for you than an organic, fair trade dessert.