Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands unveiled a burger made entirely from lab-grown stem cells on Monday, August 5.
The burger was revealed in a cooking and tasting of the test tube meat at a media event in London, where Dr. Mark Post, the lead scientist behind the project heralded the event as an important step toward wide-scale adoption of synthetic meat. The burger was fried in a pan and served to two volunteers (VIDEO) – U.S.-based food author Josh Schonwald and Austrian food researcher Hanni Ruetzler, who described the taste as “juicy,” “like meat” and “perfect.”
The event also revealed that the project (which cost $325,000 to produce) was funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. “Sometimes a new technology comes along and it has the capability to transform how we view our world,” said Sergey Brin in a video posted by Maastricht University. Brin said that he was moved to invest in the technology for animal welfare reasons. People had an erroneous image of modern meat production, he said, imagining “pristine farms” with just a few animals in them. “When you see how these cows are treated, it’s certainly something I’m not comfortable with.”
The Guardian reports that by 2060, human population is predicted to rise to 9.5 billion and, with a rising demand for meat from rapidly developing populations in, for example, China and India, the market in meat is expected to double by the middle of the century. If that happens, livestock could be responsible for half as much climate impact as all the world’s cars, trucks and airplanes. In 2008, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, urged people to have one meat-free day a week to help curb the rate of global climate change.
Though calculations of the environmental impact of Dr Post’s lab-grown meat have yet to be published, early indications suggest that cultured meat could reduce the need for land and water by as much as 90 per cent and overall energy use by up to 70 per cent.
Post acknowledged that it will likely be “10 to 20 years” before cultured meat arrives on the market, citing high costs, low-volume production, and consumer apprehension as primary obstacles, though he remains confident that lab grown food could mitigate what many experts regard as an impending crisis.
Now, the question is….will people eat it?
Watch the video below and let us know what you think: