“Poo Burger” hoax video reminds us not to believe everything we see on the Internet.

Well it seems that some legit news websites are syndicating a story about a so called Japanese “poo burger”. A video that originated at LiveLeaks(WARNING VIDEO MY BE GROSS TO SOME) has a Japanese scientist named Mitsuyuki Ikeda from a fictitious Okayama Laboratory who has invented a “poo burger” from sewage waste. The concept is that bacteria within sewage waste can be processed & treated to create so called meat steaks. The video has Mr. Ikeda talking nonchalantly about his invention as well as demonstrating it’s virtues & even eating some of it.

Perhaps the first glaring problem is that this video originally showed up on April 19th, 2011 on LiveLeak. It took 2 months before it finally got enough steam to become a popular story. Had this been legit, there would have been a proper press release by the university in question & most news agencies get notified directly when there is a press release. What we’re seeing now appears to be a bunch of popular sites either hopping on the bandwagon of a viral hoax video or due to their partnerships with semi-shady websites they are syndicating the story making it appear more legit.

What’s wrong with the video.

  • The video opens with large plastic packages of what looks to be clay or miso of some sort, open to the air, just neglected there. You’d hope someone doing cutting edge research wouldn’t be so sloppy.
  • The meat generated looks similar to dried pig ears that you’d give to your dog or jerky of some sort.
  • The description of the extraction process is vague. Sewage contains all sorts of stuff like heavy metals, toxins, chemicals, inedible fibers not just bacteria. There is no discussion on how those items are removed.
  • The video states that the meat tastes like beef. In actuality artificially generated meat has not been approved for human consumption. The leading developers of artificially generated meat have barely got to the point of producing enough that the possibility of eating it is even an option. If one of these scientists did eat it then they certainly wouldn’t talk about it because it would be somewhat of an ethics violation.
  • When “Mr. Ikeda” is pointing to a picture of the meat being produced he is using a pointer that has a cartoon hand with red nail polish on it. What serious scientist would use such a pointer?
  • “Mr. Ikeda” is shown removing some of the meat from a fridge that has been labeled “S*IT BURGER” & inside some of the meat product is left unwrapped exposed to the air again. A bag containing different looking meat, similar to a steak is removed from the fridge. It’s contained within a vacuum sealed bag, once again labeled “S*IT BURGER”. Really? Com’on.
  • The video then has Mr. Ikeda admiring stories about himself & pictures of him showing off his meat, unfortunately none of these stories can actually be found from a legitimate source that doesn’t redirect to the LiveLeak video.
  • Throughout the entire video it appears that Mr. Ikeda is the only one that works in his lab.
  • Lastly the video has Mr. Ikeda simulating defecation while fully clothed & then shows him eating a burger at a lunch counter. *eyeroll*

Overall the whole video seems completely and utterly over the top. If this was legit there would have been more fanfare when it was originally posted back in April & the video would have been done much more professionally. This isn’t the first time someone has tried to pass this concept off as legit either. The activist/comedy group “The Yes Men” impersonated McDonald’s & World Trade Organization employees who had plans to implement such technology to feed the world’s hungry.

If you want to hear about legitimate research on artificially generated meat, I’d check out the NPR Fresh Air episode from May 17th, 2011 discussing meat being manufactured in a lab.

Additionally you might want to checkout Youtube user “Gimmeaflakeman’s” take on the video as he has more insight on Japanese culture & did some further research as well.