The solution to the morbid obesity epidemic and world hunger: Idea # 0002

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Unrelated artistic photograph

        A developing technology of cultured meat, that is to say muscle cells grown in a petri dish, has the potential to drastically increase the efficiency of providing tasty protein to the masses. Petri dish meat grown in towers with the aid of nutrient rich growth media (that’s science speak for nourishing liquid) would take far less space thus freeing us from the need of large livestock pastures or unsanitary mega farms that threaten public health and cause animal rights activists to have a cow. There are of course a couple hurdles yet to overcome. First the process is not yet energy efficient and thus not yet cost or resource effective in comparison to traditional farmed livestock, but that will likely change in time. Second, the taste is not yet a good approximation of typical culinary meat because it lacks the fat found in natural meat. This fact points to a very obvious flawless solution to the world’s hunger and obesity concerns.

            If fat were harvested from the obese or overweight, it could be combined and processed with petri dish meat to provide a tastier, more realistic, protein treat. With conservative estimates it is obvious that there is a fair amount of fat readily available. There are approximately three hundred million Americans in the United States. If fat is harvested between the ages of fifteen to sixty five years and two thirds of that age group is either overweight or obese, then there are approximately one hundred and thirty two million people with harvestable excess fat. Assuming that each individual is on average twenty pounds overweight and that sixty percent of that extra weight is fat, it is apparent that there will be twelve pounds of extra fat per person for a total of one billion, five hundred and eighty four million pounds of excess fat available in America alone. There are four hundred and fifty four grams per pound and approximately fifty four grams of fat in one beef steak (I am ignoring details like saturated vs unsaturated fat). That means, as a rough estimate, one pound fat can be used to marble five pounds of beef. With American fat alone nearly eight billion pounds of petri dish beef could be flavor and calorie enhanced. I concede that eight billion pounds of meat is only a tiny fraction of the world’s yearly consumption but with the plummeting cost of liposuction, more Americans will eat guilt free thus indefinitely increasing the available supply of fat as well as meat demand. In this way a growing meat nutrition debt can be accumulated thus spurring unrestricted growth. It’s a solution modeled after our flawless economic policies and therefore impervious to failure or criticism. Bon apetit.

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