Scientists at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) have figured out a way to turn pig’s blood into a potent, neutral-tasting protein powder for the food industry. Head researcher Rene Lametsch, an Associate Professor at UCPH suspects China may be interested in the new product because the country is already a significant export market for Danish pork. Danish pig meat is exported to over 140 countries, and the largest markets in the volume are China, Germany, UK, Russia, Poland, Japan, Italy, and Sweden.
The Team claim the protein powder can cut down meat production and help the environment but animal rights organizations are appalled by the prospect of using pigs’ blood to create protein powder.
Denmark is among the world’s largest exporters of pork but every year up to 60K tons of blood is leftover from Danish pork production. Most of it is sold on the international market for animal feed but with the new product, the team behind it believes it could act as a sustainable source of protein for humans in the future as populations rise. Despite the potential uses for this protein, animal rights organizations like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) find it unethical to consume animals or wear animal products, as the creatures will endure suffering and death as a result.
Due to its white color, neutral taste, and high nutritional value of 90% protein, it could serve as a supplement in a wide variety of foods, without changing the flavors of the food and it could also be used in hospitals or care homes to give the elderly a boost of nutrients. The scientists can extract 5K tons of pure protein powder for every 60K tons of blood via a method that uses an enzyme found in the papaya fruit. The enzyme removes protein from the blood while simultaneously separating the iron, which could be used in other dietary supplements.
Rene Lametsch, an Associate Professor at UCPH, explains in an interview with Intelligent Living, “We are increasing production sustainability by taking advantage of pig blood as a protein source for human consumption. It is likely that a growing number of people will satisfy their protein needs in the future through alternative food sources, for the sake of CO2 emissions and due to food shortages. We have tested the powder in a chocolate bar, as well as in meatballs served to people 65-years-old and up, with positive results. Older people can have a tough time getting enough protein in their diets as they begin to eat less at the exact same time that their bodies need additional protein”.
The Danish team still needs to find investors to proceed with their plans and Rene Lametsch says that a bold industrial investor must be willing to test this with consumers. Protein from pig’s blood faces the same challenge as with protein from insects. People try it and think of it as exciting, but it takes time to get used to.