I was just finishing up my speech this morning at the National Environmental Health Association Conference in Columbus, Ohio when I got this video via one of my followers on twitter:

I can only assume that this is not a joke – although it should be.  This is disturbing at several levels.

  • Doc Mudd

    Not a joke; this is just another clever emerging vegan meat substitute. Priced a bit too high, even for vegans but a premium price will only enhance the marketing of this product – conspicuous consumption is what it’s all about, right?
    For cheapskates there is always the “all natural” method of organic vegetable production for introducing high-protein fecal bacteria onto vegetables to achieve an effete culinary experience. This fad will have fallen out of favor with many Germans by now, but they will soon enough be ushered back into the fold as soon as the ‘back to the fiefdom’ propagandists overcome this latest little setback.
    For me, just give me a thick, juicy (real) beefsteak. I will devise an appropriate kill step involving a grill, a thermometer, some red hot coals and some ice cold beers. Don’t need no fecal mud or food colorin’ or extruder machine or funky compost or organic certification or any other silly foodie bullshit, either.

  • Bix

    omg. I suppose if I have to. But I really don’t want to have to.
    Maybe we could instead feed the fecal mud to livestock, and then feed the fecal-fed livestock to humans. Wait…

  • Constantine

    …this is good food for politicians… and the scientists who invented it…

  • ICBM

    Yumm… good old thick, juicy “real” beefsteak — have a few beers and maybe you won’t remember it was raised on growth hormones, chicken manure and ethanol waste — yummmm…..

  • Doc Mudd

    Well, see now, there’s at least one dedicated fan of serious recycling who prefers the sh!t sandwich – maybe it will catch on and gain some popularity before it finally sickens a bunch of people. It might be stylishly served up with a big ol’ gob of queso fresco and a clamshell or two of those good organic sprouts. Make sure your health insurance is paid up and dig in, campers!
    Not me.
    Beef – it’s what’s for dinner!
    (Ditzy scaremongers’ scolding, and all. Can’t imagine a better way to go out!)
    Hmmm. I wonder if that scientist could ferment his crap into fake yogurt? Bet he could. That might become very popular with lactose intolerant foodies.

  • It’s hard to know how to treat this clip. The flippant presentation certainly gives the impression that this is a hoax. However, if it is a hoax, it has its base in good science.

    My first job after qualifying as a microbiologist was working for ICI in the UK, helping to develop the Single Cell Protein process. Bacteria contain large amounts of protein and can be grown in industrial-scale fermenters on a range of feedstocks. In our case, the bacteria were grown on methanol made by a catalytic process from methane. To develop texture in the extracted protein, extrusion and spinning were necessary.

    The video presentation implies that the Japanese workers are extracting the bacteria from sewage sludge. This suggests to me that the bacteria have been grown ON sewage, rather than separated FROM faeces and it is not clear whether other protein is separated from the sludge. It is also not clear whether the protein is extracted from the bacteria, or whether the bacteria are used whole to produce the “meat”. It is surprising that soy meal is added to develop flavour; there are other ways of doing this without adding more protein.

    If my comments are correct, then the real issues for me are not that the bacteria have some association with faeces, but the other crap (intended) that is emptied into sewers, including heavy metals, and the unknown nature of the mixed bacterial population.

    ICI and Shell-BP both developed SCP processes, but their bacteria were known strains and ICI’s feedstock was chemically defined. If the clip is to be believed, there are many unanswered questions in relation to this meat substitute. I have eaten SCP, but it would be a cold day in Hell before I ate this stuff.

  • Mark

    It may not be a joke. I saw a detailed article on a science website today about this. Livescience.com : Steak Made from Human Excrement: Is It Safe?

  • Minkpuppy

    Why do I get the feeling that we’re only inches away from Soylent Green…

  • LMAO, the fridge is actually labeled “shit burger”. Are you sure this isn’t a joke?