If you have a “sweet tooth” or are under the age of 15, an ice cream shop can seem like heaven on earth—coolers filled with tubs of the cold, smooth, sweet stuff, in countless different flavors and colors. Sometimes ice cream makers reach a little too far in their flavor creations, and recent developments in meat processing could push that envelope way too far, in using animal meat waste as an ice cream ingredient.
Boost Ice Cream Nutrition with Meat Scraps?
Up to 50% of animal tissues, bones, and the like are “wasted” in the meat processing industry. These proteins are usually composted or burned because there simply isn’t anything else that can be done with them. Until now. Researchers have been looking for ways to minimize this waste and are in the process of developing protein-rich powders and products that can be reintroduced into the food marketplace.
“Animal protein hydrolysates” are liquid or powdered protein blends that can be added to supplements and food to boost their protein and nutritional content. As of now, developers see this waste-slurry as being a gold mine for the protein supplement industry and for people who are in need of supplemental nutrition due to illness or disease.
Several companies are in on the product development. After all, if 50% of animal weight is currently wasted, this could prove to be a cash-cow if it can be exploited.
The technology for the project is being tested by a Belgian food company, called PROLIVER. It is hoping to enhance the nutritional quality of its protein hydrolysates, already sold in dietary, health and sports food supplements. A project partner, Mobitek-M of Russia, specializes in the production of protein-enriched processed foods. They are spearheading the effort to get the meat-waste slurry added to ice cream. A plant has already been built that will transform the waste into useable protein at a rate of one hundred tons per day when at capacity.
We are admittedly a world of excess consumption and waste. Bucking this wasteful attitude is just one of the reported advantages of using the blood, bones, tendons, and other animal parts. But, for the processed food industry, the availability of cheap protein that can be labeled “natural” and not synthetic is also alluring. If scientists can show that these protein-powders and liquids can be absorbed more quickly or better than regular protein sources, they can be marketed as beneficial dietary supplements on a global scale. And it’s not a stretch of the imagination to foresee wealthy companies and governments feeding the hungry in poorer countries this meat-trash soup and patting themselves on the backs for it.
While it isn’t in circulation yet, it’s only a matter of time. And one has to wonder if we’ll be made aware of the presence of these meat-leftovers in our foods or if our next venture into a new ice cream flavor will have us ignorant to the tendons, fat, and organs that made it possible.