Apr 03 2012

Scientists dish up meat ice cream

ice creamThe idea of ice cream made from meat might make a lot of people a little queasy, but scientists believe extracting more from meat could open up a whole new world of food.

Researchers in the Red Meat Combifoods program are looking at ways meat proteins can be separated and used in more foods.
The scientists have already made meat-based spaghetti, high-protein bread and thyme and ginger-flavoured ice cream, which "tasted pretty good", says AgResearch's Scott Knowles. He describes it as "trying to get people to think outside the plate". There are a number of reasons why such foods would be useful, he says.

Some people could not handle meat tissue and research showed toddlers could be at risk of not getting the right nutrition if they do not eat enough meat. That might give mothers options for children who do not want to eat some food put on their plates.

At this stage the mechanics of how it works is not greatly understood but meat also does more than just fill stomachs. Proteins also signal the body to build muscle, he says. Dr Knowles cites the revolution in the dairy industry, where initially milk and cream were the only products until technology enabled the separation of whey and casein proteins, and which now produce a raft of milk-based products.
He believes the meat-based foods are five or more years away from the shelves.

The meat industry is helping back the research, but currently no one is looking at producing new meat-based foods. Dr Knowles says he hopes the technology might make meat more sustainable by using more of the animal.

The researchers are looking at using low-quality meat that might otherwise be thrown out. "Rather than growing two cows and throwing away half of one of them, why not grow one and do it very well."

This article was written by Dave Williams in Wellington & published on March 30, 2012 5:53PM.

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