The saying “You are what you eat” may soon become a lot more literal.
A “DIY meal kit” for growing steaks made from human cells was recently nominated for “design of the year” by the London-based Design Museum.
Named the Ouroboros Steak after the circular symbol of a snake eating itself tail-first, the hypothetical kit would come with everything one needs to use their own cells to grow miniature human meat steaks.
But before you go running for your wallet, all is not quite as it seems.
This product isn’t available to buy. Instead, it was created by scientist Professor Andrew Pelling, artist Dr Orkan Telhan and Ms Knight, an industrial designer, on commission by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an exhibit last year, with an aim to bring attention to issues around the growing lab-created meat industry.
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Designers told Dezeen lab-grown meat is not actually as animal-friendly as one might expect. It relies on foetal bovine serum (FBS) for animal cell cultures, though some companies have claimed to have found alternatives. FBS is made from calf foetus 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,” Prof Pelling told Dezeen.
“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?” Dr Telhan added.
Growing an Ouroboros Steak would take about three months using cells taken from inside your cheek, the magazine reported. 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,” Ms Knight told Dezeen.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission