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A video and some news are spreading like wildfire on the internet about some artificial meat made from human feces. The summary from slashdot, for example, says

Hold on to your hamburgers — Japanese scientist Mitsyuki Ikeda at the Environmental Assessment Center in Okayama has invented an artificial meat substitute made from human feces. The unseemly meal is made by extracting protein and lipids from 'sewage mud.' The lipids are then combined with a reaction enhancer and whipped into 'meat' in an exploder. Ikeda makes the 'meat' more palatable by adding things like soy protein.

Googling either “Mitsyuki Ikeda” or “Environmental Assessment Center in Okayama” only seems to bring back more references to the story, but no references to the supposed scientist or any track to the original research project.

This all seems very fishy, so the question is whether there is any truth to this story? or was it just simply made up?

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I don't know if it is true, but they will certainly need a good marketing department! –  ninjaPixel Jun 20 '11 at 15:54
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There are people who think it's a hoax, like this guy (Video) –  Oliver_C Jun 20 '11 at 19:00
    
Wouldn't all the nutritional value for humans be gone already? Or maybe "healthy" isn't important anymore. =P –  Randolf Richardson Jun 21 '11 at 1:25
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Poop -- it's what's for dinner. –  Michael Jun 22 '11 at 1:35
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can see one way this could work, using the stuff as input for algae farms that produce proteins that in turn get turned into meat substitute. Pretty much what a closed system in say a long term space mission would do. –  jwenting Aug 24 '13 at 21:49
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1 Answer

up vote 20 down vote accepted

This appears to be inspired by Japan vs. Korea disputes that continue to plague us.

According to Yahoo News Japan...

"Japanese people create meat from human feces; Korean net users say 'President's office should buy'"

According to the Korean "No Cut News", a Japanese scientist has created "dung meat" out of human feces. It is said to be high in nutritious value. This news has hit the Korean web by storm, and many Korean Internet users are taking the opportunity to take jabs at the Korean government. Reported by China Net Japanese.

According to the report, Japanese scientist Ikeda Mitsuyuki has determined in reprocessing experiments that human feces are rich in proteins, and has created edible "dung meat". Ikeda explains, "This dung meat is comprised of proteins distilled from human feces, along with bean products and beef. It tastes the same as beef."

This "meat" contains 63% protein as well as 25% carbohydrates. It is thus highly nutritious, and costs 10 to 20 times more than normal meat.

There has been a large response on Korean portal site "Daum". One user made a comment regarding Korean government officials, stating "The Government house should buy a ton of this dung meat. I'd like to see them set up cameras in their cafeterias and televise their meals. It'd be fun to watch the government eat sh#t."

Another user writes, "Japanese scientists are able to make food out of sh#t. They are clearly very technologically advanced. Korean scientists have a lot to learn from them."

(Edited by Yonehara Yuko)

Not surprisingly, the comments are full of racism towards Koreans.

This Japanese scientist is well aware of the Koreans' tastes.

You'd report this? How stupid do you have to be?

'cuz the Koreans love their dung wine, right? lol, it's perfect.

To hell with all that K-Pop and Korean dramas they show in the Japanese media. Start showing them all this stuff!

You want to steal it from us again and sell it as a Korean delicacy along with ttongsul, don't you? Be my guest, you can have this one.

Regarding the ttongsul in the last comment, it's a dung wine that's rumored in Japan to be a delicacy in Korea. The story there is disgustingly symmetrical (forgive me if my translation is incorrect; my Korean is terrible and Naver Dictionary/Translate can only help so much):

"Koreans drink 'ttongsul (dung wine)', says Japanese article"

There is commotion on a popular Japanese portal site regarding an article that states falsely that "Koreans enjoy ttongsul".

Japanese blog news site "Rocket News 24" wrote last July 31st entitled "What does Korean human feces wine 'ttongsul' taste like?". It writes of how a Japanese woman learned of this supposedly traditional Korean wine. It also describes how this ttongsul is supposedly manufactured.

The article writes that it is an item of Chinese (Oriental) medicine, and that people still drink it recreationally, especially in the countryside. The article was published on popular Japanese search portal site Livedoor. It is based on a blog post by a Japanese woman who apparently married in Korea, and was told of this by her husband.

According to historical documents, ttongsul has indeed existed, and was used to treat blood congestion as well as back pain. Dog and bird feces were also said to be used to make wine. However, it would not be an overstatement to say that virtually no one drinks such wines now, being used only as fertilizer in some cases.

Netizens express disbelief that such a fallacious article could reach the top of Japan's most popular portal site.

So, this "dung meat" rumor is likely a retaliatory effort by some faceless troll.

This pisses me off beyond words -- not because the "dung meat" thing is so racist, but because the Japanese are going to believe they're justified in their rampant belligerent racist attitudes when in fact we've been pulling this exact same nonsense the whole time -- and evidently aren't even admitting to it despite being aware of the fact.

If there are any Koreans reading this, I'm sorry that you have to put up with this. This is extremely disheartening. Because you know what? We started it.

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I don't think the personal comments in the last three paragraphs belong in in the answer - nor the profanity. Hence the down vote from me. –  fred Jun 21 '11 at 19:53
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@fred I'll take out the profanity, though this whole subject is littered with it to begin with so I don't see any point in being politically correct. Imagine my surprise when I saw this question's title in an ad in Programmers.Stackexchange. I'm not taking out my personal comment; as subjective as it might be, given that my research is correct, there's virtually no chance that I'm wrong, nor that it affects the factual aspects of the answer. –  Rei Miyasaka Jun 21 '11 at 19:58
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@fred Okay, so someone edited the question and title to remove all the profanity. I'm surprised you went ahead and downvoted my answer without bothering to edit it -- so I'll do it myself. –  Rei Miyasaka Jun 21 '11 at 20:05
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personally, I found your answer quite interesting. Sometimes, it's not just about the facts, and understanding the social context of a claim is vitally important, especially when dealing with anonymous internet claims. For the record, I didn't mind the profanity one bit. –  Monkey Tuesday Jun 23 '11 at 4:39
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@rob I don't think you understand. I'm not publishing this without my apology. We need to admit to wrongdoings, or risk even more fighting. –  Rei Miyasaka Aug 24 '13 at 23:23
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