research

Cultured Beef is Here

Posted on Updated on

So that lab-grown burger thing finally happened.

Cultured Burger
(Photo by David Parry/PA Wire)

Three months and 20,000 muscle fibers later, Dutch researchers, led by Mark Post, managed to grow some meat in a petri dish. They’re calling it cultured beef, and this burger began as merely a few stem cells extracted from a cow’s shoulder, and now look!

At the unveiling event Monday, the meat was cooked in sunflower oil and butter and sampled by chosen tasters, Austrian food scientist Hanni Rützler, and Josh Schonwald, a Chicago-based journalist and author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches From The Future of Food.

So wow. This is both weird and cool and…well, really weird. What I’m curious to know is whether it has the same nutrient profile as ground beef. At this point, the in vitro meat is all muscle, and while a fat-free meat patty might sound like a great idea, you do have to consider the flavor factor. Curious to see how long that research takes.

I do like the idea that this technology could eventually offer an alternative to the massive scale of animal slaughter and its impact on human health and on the planet. Because it’s derived from animal cells, though, I’m curious to hear how people who follow vegan and vegetarian diets feel about it.

While I like the idea, I can’t say I’d be up for trying it yet. It’s sort of how I (still) feel about laser eye surgery—I’d rather wait until it becomes more mainstream with advances in technology so it’s not, like, “Hey, let’s do this crazy new thing in your eyeball!” Except the meat equivalent. I know laser vision correction is no longer new, but for the sake of illustrating a point…

Would you try cultured beef?