I’ll never be able to eat Kobe beef again

Willis recently wrote about The Long View of Feeding the Planet and all I can say about this idea below is that it is too long wrong. But, this is exactly the sort of thing that some wacky eco-types would see as part of a “sustainable future”. Even Soylent Green sounds better.

From Digital Trends

It’s being called the “poop burger”. Japanese scientists have found a way to create artificial meat from sewage containing human feces.

Somehow this feels like a Vonnegut plotline: population boom equals food shortage. Solution? Synthesize food from human waste matter. Absurd yes, but Japanese scientists have actually discovered a way to create edible steaks from human feces.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.

h/t (I think) to WUWT reader “Ray”

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119 thoughts on “I’ll never be able to eat Kobe beef again

  1. Can you honestly and reliably tell me this isn’t what McDonalds has been selling all along?

    Anyway… don’t think too much about where ANY of your food comes from. Especially mushrooms… eww. The whole food chain relies on recycling of waste at some point.

  2. Sounds like the vat meat in certain science fiction books.

    After all the news about safety hazards in organically grown food, I’ll pass. >.<

  3. Oh dear. How they love to reinvent the wheel.

    In the 1970’s We did all this from windmills to cooking human waste to provide food back then: I have no idea what it tasted like but it was declared wholesome and nutritious.

    Of course that was all to stave off the end of cheap energy, the oil was going to run out and all that, and food was going to be scarce and I do not know what else.

    Never happened.

    Still I suppose those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it all over again.

    Kindest Regards

  4. This requires legislation. I really don’t care which party runs with it, but this has to stop here, go no further, end, fini. All my future votes will be grounded on the principle that feeding people poo should be a national offense, and here, I am drawing the line. No teriyaki poo for this family. Stir fry poo is a non-starter, sum yung poo is right out. This is a poo free zone. Poo by any other name is still poo. This could be the best thing that ever happened to kimchi.

  5. this is so odd. Of a cultures, it is the Japanese who want to do this? I Love their esthetic, their art, food, industrial design. This is so un-Japanese.

  6. Well, coffee beans shat out by civet cats are already a high-priced delicacy. This just goes one step further.

  7. I sure hope im gone before this comes out…..im starting to feel that if it comes within the nexts 30 years….yea, i’ll be here…..and i’ll remmber this…….

  8. I’ll second TimiBoy on his post, except I suspect that the Greenies have known about this for years and partake in this product.
    After all they’re “full of it ”
    Now I’ll look at meat free burgers in the supermarket with even more scrutiny and suspicion.

  9. Behind my mess hall in the army there were five galvanized cans, labeled…
    Paper
    Metal
    Bone
    Grease
    and…..
    Edible Garbage
    The last was the butt of many jokes, and one wondered when that can went back in the front door the mess hall.
    But the latrines were one-way, fortunately.

  10. Well, it’s a good contingency plan as a possible replacement for the crow that certain AGW “scientists” are going to have on their plates in a few years.

  11. Ha, kudos to lots of the comments here today. Funny, intelligent and pointed. WUWT comments so much better … Well done folks

  12. If there are food shortages, why not simply stop the corn to alcohol subsidies? If we stop burning food in our cars, we’ll have more food and money.

  13. Willis’s analysis did not go far enough. Most skeptics consider the recorded warming since 1850 or so a result of climate improvement since the Little Ice Age (LIA). And some expect that the warm conditions will not last. One view is that warming and cooling cycles are natural and that we are now enjoying the positive phase of the cycle as the Modern Warm Period. We expect another cold period to follow and with it a significant decline in agricultural production as occurred during the LIA.

    When the population reaches 12 billion and the next little ice age comes our descendants will eat whatever they can afford. Good for you if your children and grandchildren will be able to eat American beef.

    The advantage of the Japanese approach is that the required capital investment will be a lot less than for the “Soylent Green” solution (harvesting plankton from the sea). If the Japanese process is feasible, then waste from cattle as well as humans could provide feed-stock for bacteria.

    As for the UGH! factor–how many drugs are now based on extracting substances from molds and bacteria? Penicillin and how many others?.Mushrooms are grown on manure. Compost made from manure makes good vegetables. Besides if hogs follow cattle fed on corn, about 10% of weight gain is from scavenging the undigested corn kernels in cow dung.

    Happy eating.

  14. Guys, noone is talking about eating raw shit – just protein separated/purified from the other crud. I’m a bit surprised at the hyper-emotive responses here: a protein molecule is just a protein molecule, regardless of its history. Just like water is water, even though it has passed millions of times through the intestines of men, water-buffaloes, rats, tape-worms … !

  15. @ Ian E..
    I do hope you missed the the sarc tag on that – remember what happened here in the UK when animal protein (bovine cow) was fed back to the same animals that produced it (bovine cows)
    If you really don’t know, look up “BSE”

    regards
    A UK cow farmer

  16. My late father in law was a pig farmer (good bloke, WW2 wireless operator /air gunner and had lovely daughters). Maybe somebody in that industry could care to comment on what they feed pigs nowadays?

  17. I love the engrish “SHIT BURGER” label on the refrigerator.

    And there is no global food crisis and never will be, barring an apocalyptic event that destroys global industry. The current food system is grossly inefficient by design. Most food is grown for luxury, not for it’s nutritive value. Simply consider the extreme costs per unit of utility of apples, lettuce and tomatoes compared to the efficient production of macronutrients by corn, soybeans and wheat. If a real crisis hits, stop putting 100 lbs of nitrogen on an acre of land to grow lettuce which is mostly water and fiber, and plant some corn instead. Then pasture some cows on the stover.

  18. That is so appalling it colors everything Japanese, eewwww. If I were Japanese government, I would squelch these bozos big time, before they do irrepairable harm to Japan’s image.

  19. customer: “waiter, this coffee tastes like mud!”
    waiter: “well sir, it was ground this morning.”
    customer “…and about this steak…!!”
    *rim shot*

  20. >>>
    Pete in Cumbria UK says:

    June 17, 2011 at 1:59 am

    @ Ian E..
    I do hope you missed the the sarc tag on that – remember what happened here in the UK when animal protein (bovine cow) was fed back to the same animals that produced it (bovine cows)
    If you really don’t know, look up “BSE”

    regards
    A UK cow farmer
    <<<

    This is BACTERIAL proteins that we are talking about !!!!!

  21. Hey, when the big chill comes, it may be the only recourse. I’m betting on finding a way to eat windmills…

  22. And some people wonder why I’m a vegetarian!

    I only plant my stuff in manure, I don’t mix it in the stuff after I’ve harvested it.

  23. Japanese scientists have actually discovered a way to create edible steaks from human feces

    … for some definitions of edible.

    On the other hand, for centuries we have been eating rice and other foodstuffs raised in ponds full of “night soil.”

  24. I really hope this is a spoof! I see all the jokes have been made in the above comments so I’ll refrain from humor. My first thought though is that even though the protein bacteria will have been killed by the manufacturing process there is still a danger of heavy metal contamination/build up. For that reason composted human waste is not allowed to enter the food chain, even as a fertiliser to vegetable crops, so I don’t see this as a good idea at all!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_soil

    it seems though, that the re-cycling of solid human waste is still a common practice in parts of Japan, so perhaps this is not a spoof after all!

  25. With the amount of crap Al Gore spews not only should he be self sufficient, he should also be able to feed a small nation.

  26. For the squeamish amongst us, please realize that feeding feces to our beef cattle is a long-standing practice, specifically poultry litter: http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2077

    Making “meat” out of human fecal material is more than disgusting; however, some cattle operations have been cited for feeding human sewage to beef cattle. When I lived & worked in the UK (during the BSE cull), I remember hearing of this practice in France:

    http://www.mad-cow.org/oct99_vlate_news.html

    It’s all about the money, folks. Although such proteins will never pass muster from the USFDA nor USDA for human consumption, don’t be surprised if these end up on your dinner plate in some other form.

  27. My dog is here reading this with me with drool coming out of both sides of his mouth.

  28. It’s being called the “poop burger”. Japanese scientists have found a way to create artificial meat from sewage containing human feces.

    Want flies with that?

    REPLY: LOL! Quite possibly the most simultaneously disgusting, politically incorrect, and hilarious comment I have ever seen. Truly a poop de grace. – Anthony

  29. My youngest son & I have gastro-enteritis & it’s no bloody fun. I caught it in during a two day sojourn in hospital for diagnosis of double pneumonia plus pleurisy, after which I was discharged on Wednesday with a 10 day supply of antibiotics. Now, on Friday, he’s got it & I’m mopping up. So how do these clever chappies plan to cope with the toxins in our outpourings eh?

    Perry

  30. No way I’m eating a Crappy MealTM, with or without the flies. Yeah, I know (as someone said above) protein is protein, regardless of its history, but I just couldn’t do it. I’d sooner eat cat than scat.

  31. Austin: Cor! This steak smells like shit!
    Basil: It *is* shit, Austin.
    Austin: Oh, good. Then it’s not just me.
    [Eats]
    Austin: [Smacks lips] It’s a bit nutty.

  32. “Still I suppose those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it all over again.”

    Or, at least, relieve it all over again…

  33. Where did I put my replicator!? If I could just find it again, this would be a non issue!

  34. Actually the beef from the Ishikawa Peninsula on the Sea of Japan side is quite underrated. I strongly recommend the readers travel there for the experience. With the small human population there, I can’t imagine why anybody would want to go through the trouble to take those resident’s feces and convert it to edible protein when the cattle do such a better job!

  35. “this is so odd. Of a cultures, it is the Japanese who want to do this? I Love their esthetic, their art, food, industrial design. This is so un-Japanese.”

    Really…
    Pickled plums?
    The Hizamakura “Lap Pillow”?
    Anime?
    What they do with minivans?

  36. Fish feed, cattle feed, chicken feed, pet food, emergency food, prison food for serial killers and mass murderers — after you get past the disgust, this is a good idea, assuming heavy metals are sequestered.
    In parallel, the feedstock can also be used to produce fuel — ethanol, butanol, methane, diesel. Some energy input is required, from sun or electricity, for the liquid fuels.

    Thinking about feces is naturally disgusting, but feces as feedstock is worth thinking seriously about. Especially if food and fuel are expensive.

  37. Seeing as the greens are so enthusiastic about recycling perhaps this meat is ideal for them.

  38. I’ll never drink tap water in Singapore again. :O(

    “Using advanced technology it is now possible to re-use sewage effluent for drinking water, although Singapore is the only country to implement such technology on a production scale in its production of NEWater.”
    Wiki

    What’s happening in the East?

  39. Septic Matthew says:
    June 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

    . . . . . is worth thinking seriously about . . . . If you are a bacteria!!

  40. I am glad this post has had the effect of “releasing” from so many years of snipping.

    Except for the possible “leaks” and cross contamination in the system, protein is protein but what is more scary is the 9% minerals (heavy metals?!). Now, that can make much more damage.

    I suppose NASA could actually use such technology on long space travels or on Mars, not sure if the astronauts would enjoy their meals though but it surely must be considered already.

  41. Now now now.come on you brave people… just think of it down at the molecular level. A carbon atom is a carbon atom, no difference if it originated from poo or a Kobe steer. It all is your head. Think of the whole process, you eat a carbon atom from a cow and your body simply reprocesses the molecular arrangement so that it becomes a carbon atom in poo, the bacteria then reprocesses that poo carbon atom arrangement back into a tasty protein.

    ps. Regardless, let the greenies eat the poo they deserve it. There will still be Kobe beef that someone has to eat however, so it might as well be me.

  42. @Jimbo says:
    June 17, 2011 at 9:30 am
    I’ll never drink tap water in Singapore again. :O(

    “Using advanced technology it is now possible to re-use sewage effluent for drinking water, although Singapore is the only country to implement such technology on a production scale in its production of NEWater.”
    Wiki

    What’s happening in the East?
    —–
    REPLY Singapore, hell! How about L.A.?

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/06/la_dwp_sewage_drinking_water.php

    First, microfilters smaller than 1/300th of a human hair remove most of the bacteria and viruses.
    Then, reverse osmosis removes salts, hormones pharmaceuticals and other matter.
    Finally, the water is treated with ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to strip away any trace contaminants.

    At the University of Illinois, certain mad scientists are “deep” into the science of directly purifying raw sewage into “potable” water. The “yuck” factor is a huge barrier as you might expect.

  43. Human feces is basically what human bodies cannot use. So to get something “nutritional” out of it would indeed be costly and involve massive amounts of poop. That they can do it I have no doubt. The question is why? The poop is much more useful as fertilizer since there are plenty of nutrients that plants like.

  44. Reminds me of a story told in ag-econ classes. They had four pig sties – the first set of pigs got all the good food, the second the excrement of the first, the third from the second group, and the fourth from the third group. Guess which group of pigs was the fattest? The second!

  45. “So, has anyone tasted it. Anything like prime rib??”

    Not yet. There are two college interns at the lab, continuing to conduct the most epic Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament known to mankind.

  46. Just because you CAN do something does not mean you SHOULD. We could probably create a viable human-chimpanzee hybrid, but that doesn’t mean we should. When I lived in Amarillo I used to drive past a huge waste water treatment facility. Immediately across the street was a huge sod farm. They used the effluent from the treatment facility to grow grass. It was amazing how fast they could go from acres and acres of bare soil to acres and acres of lush, green sod.

    Now it seems to me that it would be far more efficient to use waste water treatment effluent to grow grass and cattle to eat the grass to produce beef. I suspect it shall always be more cost-effective to raise cattle for protein. Animals, from bugs to beef, are our best and most efficient source of essential protein. It is possible to get all the essential amino acids from plant sources…but it ain’t easy and the sheer mass of plant matter that must be consumed is not inconsequential. Be healthy. Be prosperous. Eat animals…not shit.

  47. Dr. Dave says:
    June 17, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Plants are usually good “sponges” of heavy metals and other chemicals from the environment. Sewage muds are not what they used to be and you can find all sorts of nasties in there. Recently they realized the mistake of using sewage to grow vegetables due to all sorts of horror stories. Even the vegetables grown at White House garden were not suitable for consumption. They contained too much heavy metals. Apparently they used sewage fertilizer for years on the grass there.

    Feeding human sewage to cattle is another really stupid idea that will poison people.

  48. Hey dudes, that looks like mighty fine shit you got there…you gonna let me in on it? Sho’ smells like the real stuff, man…

  49. REPLY: LOL! Quite possibly the most simultaneously disgusting, politically incorrect, and hilarious comment I have ever seen. Truly a poop de grace. – Anthony

    Thanks, Anthony. I was hoping you’d like it. here are two more in the same vein (takeoffs of fast-food ads), although these aren’t home runs:
    Where’s the beef!?
    Heave it your way.

  50. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.

    The significant protein content of fresh human stool has been known for quite a while, plus it’s “organic”. So add a few “fresh vegetables” and you’re in business, or not. Once an evil redneck woman I know fixed up a dip from fresh cow dung + garnishments for her ex-husband, who was best friends with her current husband. In fact the 3 were very good friends and always playing practical jokes on each other. Finally the ex exclaimed, “This stuff tastes like $h**!” “Just testing you, Donny. We were wondering if you’d gone hippie on us.”

  51. Did you hear about the cannibal who passed his mother-in-law in the woods?
    (Think about it…… };>) )

    Computers – GIGO.
    People – PIPO ????

    Wouldn’t this surely follow the Law Of Diminishi(t)ng Returns?

    Wouldn’t this also lead to even more off-color comments?

    Finally, it appears the sage of the restroom was correct, when he penned
    “Flush twice. It’s a long way to the kitchen!”

  52. “Even the vegetables grown at White House garden…contained too much heavy metals…Feeding human sewage to cattle is another really stupid idea that will poison people.”

    Just had to Ratt you out on your pun, there…

  53. Ian E says:
    June 17, 2011 at 3:52 am
    ____________

    BSE protein. I guess you imply that the protein itself is infective, i.e. prions.

    Well, I don’t believe in prions. Load of crap, in my opinion, despite the Nobel Prize to Stan Prusiner. I recall, critical control experiments were mising the last time I looked into the work. Since the Nobel, it’s all too much like AGW. I met Prusiner, and didn’t like him at all. The lab personnel all seemed to be emotionally abused. I don’t want to get any deeper into the pros and cons of prions here. Let’s just say, I like to fight questionable science and don’t jump on the bandwagon just because “everyone” else is there.

    More on topic: I’d rather not repeat the final scene from Pink Flamingos. Maybe this crap would taste better as Teriyaki jerky? So who was the guy who tasted it first? Probably somebody’s little brother.

  54. This whole story is a crock of shit!

    Hopefully, however, I’d feel safer eating my burgers medium rare!

  55. Diarrhea…uh..uh….Diarrhea…uh..uh….Some people think it’s gross but it’s really good on toast…Diarrhea!

  56. No wonder them greens want you to use only one sheet of TP, they don’t want any filler in their S)(it burger!

  57. It appears that the topic of coprophagia has resulted in an outpouring of scatologic humor. The revulsion that people experience when confronted with this topic may be a survival instinct for reasons I’ll explain below. No-one has any qualms about eating produce which utilized the CO2 and minerals produced from decomposition of human feces as building blocks of vegetable protein. Back in the days when I would ponder how to create self-contained ecosystems in a colony ship, my designs assumed incineration of all fecal matter and piping the CO2 to algae in tanks. I never considered the possibility of harvesting bacterial proteins.

    The one problem with bacterial proteins is that our GI tracts haven’t been designed to digest them. The other problem with bacterial proteins is that there are some nasty enterotoxins produced by bacteria such as C. difficile toxin, cholera toxin, etc. I expect that most of these bacterial protein toxins would have been denatured during the digestion process but I wouldn’t want to take a chance on some protein molecules surviving intact. Bacterial proteins are quite different than mammalian and plant proteins and one has to next consider the peptides which are produced by the digestive process and whether or not these peptides will have hormonal or toxic effects on the GI tract. Celiac disease is the result of an autoimmune reaction to the wheat protein gliadin and I would expect that the turd burgers would result in a plethora of new autoimmune gastroenterologic diseases as a result of ingestion of bacterial proteins.

    Then one also has the problem of human immunologic reactions to bacterial lipids. I expect that some people would be very sensitive to these as some bacterial lipids are potent pyrogens in miniscule amounts. People vary in how leaky their small bowel is and I expect some people would react with chills and rigors after ingestion of a turd burger. Aside from providing employment for gastroenterologists and rheumatologists with the host of new autoimmune diseases, I can’t see much benefit from this recycling of bacteria. It would be far better to hydrolyze the proteins to free amino acids and utilize these for food. It would be important to break down bacterial lipids as the immune system is designed to react to these as their presence in the bloodstream triggers an immune response.

    So, it appears that the negative reaction on this thread to this potential source of protein is well founded. While I have had no trouble eating insect sources of protein in the past, I’ll give this food source a pass. I wouldn’t feed it to my cat either.

  58. This remnds me of something that happened during the French Revolution when Marie Antoinette made her infamous statement when told that the people were starving and had no bread. i now await a similar resonse from Japanease royalty,

    “Let them eat Poop.”

  59. @Hoser says:
    June 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm
    ____________

    More on topic: I’d rather not repeat the final scene from Pink Flamingos.

    REPLY LOL!! R.I.P., Divine!!

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