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Please pass the printed vittles




Armed with hefty grants from the Pentagon, squads of corporate and governmental food technologists are on a mission to supplant nature with a great leap forward in the Brave New World of synthetic foodstuffs.

Not satisfied merely to tinker with genetic re-engineering of nature's products, these mad scientists have a God-like goal of "creating" new food (assuming that God is a supernatural robotic being with a wicked sense of humor and not enough real work to do).

Who will eat the stuff? Soldiers are to be the first lucky consumers.

Lauren Oleksyk, team leader of this operation at the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Research Center, explains to NPR that battleground troops will be outfitted head-to-toe with electronic sensors that'll constantly monitor their essential biochemical levels, sending info about any imbalances to computer software attached to a 3D printer, which will be a part of each individual soldier's field gear.

Low on potassium? No problem — "We envision to have a 3D printer that is interfaced with the soldier," says Oleksyk. "Then they would be able to have either powdered or liquid matrices [printed out] on demand that they can take and eat immediately to fill that need."

Yes, a potassium patty!

It's synthesized on the spot from various oils and powders and "printed out" as a sort of food-like edible. Yum!

Well, not really, for taste and texture are still futuristic concepts. But still, instantly printed food is upon us, an ungodly high-tech hallelujah moment.

These tech deities are targeting soldiers first — but then us. With world population exploding and climate change endangering old-fashioned agriculture, they say that printed-out nutrition is our future. As one of the corporate engineers rather ominously put it: "We eventually have to change our perception of what food is."

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit

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