Sections

Brooklyn Army Terminal’s latest tenant could be the bio-tech firm Modern Meadow

Test-tube beef could grow in Brooklyn

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Quilts. Twill. Corporate furniture. Test-tube beef?

The list of items made at Brooklyn Army Terminal is long and varied but the possible latest addition is raising eyebrows — and could one day raise blood pressure. Modern Meadow, a Missouri-based bio-tech firm, is ruminating on leasing space in the complex’s Biobat research park to bring “a leather and meat brewery” to the epicenter of all things culinary and couture.

“New York is the center of the fashion industry in the U.S., and one of the most exciting and creative food environmen­ts,” the company’s top executive Andres Forgacs told Crain’s New York, ignoring the fact that it is a long way from Sunset Park to Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue. “We look forward to working with talent on both fronts.”

But a company spokesperson declined to flesh out the plans.

“We haven’t finalized decisions about Modern Meadow’s location. Brooklyn is an option which we are interested in pursuing,” said the company’s director of business development, Sarah Sclarsic.

Part bio-engineering, part three-dimensional printing, the operation would be at home among Brooklyn Army Terminal’s other tech startups, but Forgacs told Crain’s he needs to find the right lab for his high-tech outfit.

To “grow” meat, scientists steep livestock stem cells in a nutrient-rich mixture. The cells replicate, forming ultra-thin layers of muscle tissue that scientists turn into steaks and handbags by layering the thin strips on one another, a la three-dimensional printing. The technology made its debut in medicine more than a decade ago, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been growing test-tube turkey meat since 2001.

About 30 organizations worldwide are working to make slaughter-free meat commercially viable, according Lindsay Rajt, spokeswoman for the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which approves of the growth industry.

Lab-grown meat costs no lives, cuts the greenhouse gasses given off by livestock rearing, and frees up resources, she said. Rajt said the initial cells do come from an animal, but the result is more ethical than the status quo.

“We’re really about the bigger picture,” she said. “We support anything that helps to reduce animal suffering, and this meat and leather fit the bill.”

Modern Meadow is focusing on leather production, and the company can already control the thickness, texture, and breathability of its product, Forgacs said when he unveiled samples last year.

“We can mimic nature, but also, in some ways, improve upon it,” he said.

On the food front, researchers need a little more time in the kitchen. Last August, a taste test panel found the first in vitro burger edible, but at $300,000, it was no cheap lunch. Mimicking texture is another major hurdle, and developments are slower to hatch on the poultry front.

“From what I’ve heard, they’re hoping they can one day get it to the level of a chicken nugget,” said Avery Medjuck, a waiter in Williamsburg who has been following news on what the industry sometimes calls “shmeat” (as in a “sheet of meat”).

Rajt said her organization is offering $1 million to anyone who can make an in-vitro chicken nugget comparable to the real thing. Modern Meadow is considered a top contender, she said.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Who says manufacturing isn't coming back to Brooklyn! Shazzam baby.
Jan. 30, 2014, 5:38 pm
JC from Everywhere says:
If they could only clone you, Ethan! Wouldn't that be grand. A fresh start for you to stop projecting all the shame, regret, and longing of your misspent youth. Your bohemian imaginary of greed, racism, and conspicuous consumption among white, monied New Brooklyn could be vanished by a rebirth of New Ethan. Can I get an Amen?
Jan. 30, 2014, 6:14 pm
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Gross, short-sighted.
Jan. 30, 2014, 8:02 pm
Frank from Lumberton says:
From fashion to mystery meat.

Sunset Park is one stop shopping
Jan. 31, 2014, 12:48 am
Barry from Flatbush says:
Soylent Green is people!
Jan. 31, 2014, 8:47 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
This is high-tech manufacturing, what the Chooch has been talking about all along. This is your new Brooklyn industry. Mystery meat, 3-D printers, haut-bohemian interiors, artisanal bean soup in reusable mason jars. There are your jobs, there is your factory town. Alakazaam! You're welcome. Any time.
Jan. 31, 2014, 10:55 am
bkmanhatman from Nubruuklyn says:
Well science & engineering firms over art galleries FTW
Jan. 31, 2014, 12:06 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
First you have art, then you have yuppies, then you have science. It's amazing what can come out of a beer party in a warehouse. Kazaam Kazoom!
Jan. 31, 2014, 5:25 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.