Would You Eat a Test-Tube Burger?By Todd • Jul 5th, 2011 • Category: Burger Blog
For many these days, what comes on your burger isn’t the question; where your burger comes from is all the rage. It isn’t enough to get your hands on a killer burger, it seems. Now discriminating diners are all but performing a full-blown background check on the cow that their burger used to be. Was it fed grass or grain? Was it raised organically? Was it treated humanely? Was it transported more than 100 miles to reach the restaurant? Menus used to boast about what their burger is topped with or how it’s cooked. Now they highlight which local farm the cow came from. Well, if some Dutch scientists have anything to say about it, the cow may not even be a necessary component in the near future. Soon, your burger may come not from a farm… but from a sterilized lab.
Researchers from Maastricht University are working on “in vitro” meat- ground beef grown from stem cells- to help accommodate a global meat-eating population that’s expected to double by the year 2050. According to experts at Utrecht University, an initial batch of just 10 stem cells could theoretically produce 50,000 tons of meat within two months! An Oxford University study suggests that growing meat in this way would consume 35-60% less energy and 98% less land, and produce 80-95% less greenhouse gas than today’s conventional farming methods.
As Maastricht professor of physiology Mark Post explained to the UK’s Daily Mail, “I don’t see any way you could rely on old-fashioned livestock in the coming decades. In vitro meat will be the only choice left. We are trying to prove to the world we can make a product out of this, and we need a courageous person who is willing to be the first to taste it.”
“Courageous?!?” If Post sounds less than confident about how his bionic burger might taste, it could be because the school’s Petri dish pork from 2009 reportedly was an unappetizing grey in color and had a squishy texture similar to calamari.
Whatever the test-tube burger tastes like, there are some academians who think we may all have to just get used to it. One of Post’s colleagues told reporters, “When we are eating a hamburger we don’t think, ‘I’m eating a dead cow.’ And when people are already far from what they eat, it’s not too hard to see them accepting cultured meat.“
Scientists claim to be about one year away from the first lab burger. But what if they don’t find a courageous carnivore by then to take one small bite for man… one giant swallow for mankind? According to Post, “If no one comes forward then it might be me.”