142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Is the future of meat palatable?: An analysis of online opinions on in-vitro meat

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Linnea Laestadius, PhD, MPP , Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Mark Caldwell, MA , Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Global livestock production represents a significant environmental challenge, yet levels of meat consumption remain high in the West and continue to grow in the developing world. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that global demand for meat will increase 73% by 2050. To help minimize the environmental implications of this increased demand for meat, lab scientists have been working to develop in-vitro meat (IVM). It is anticipated that IVM, which is grown in a lab from animal muscle cells, will both use fewer resources and be substantially less emissions intensive than meat derived from farmed animals. IVM may also have a lower fat content than traditional meat and reduce the risk of food borne illness.

Yet for all of its environmental and public health benefits, public acceptance of IVM remains unclear. Straddling the line between an emerging technology and a common foodstuff, IVM represents something novel both for consumers and the field of public health. To understand the feasibility of public acceptance of IVM, we conducted a qualitative thematic analysis of the comments made on online news articles that highlighted the development of the world’s first IVM hamburger in August 2013. Online comment analysis is recognized as an emerging method for capturing public opinion and discourse without researcher intervention. Seven articles and eight hundred and fourteen comments were examined. Key themes in public acceptance and rejection of IVM will be discussed, as will implications for the development and promotion of environmentally sustainable diets.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the environmental concerns associated with livestock production. Describe in-vitro meat (IVM) and its environmental and public health profile. Discuss positive and negative public perceptions of IVM and the feasibility of public acceptance of IVM.

Keyword(s): Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a PhD in health policy and a certificate in environmental health. Additionally, I have several years of experience conducting research addressing food and its relationship to the environment. I initiated and led the study described in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.